Brookhaven highway superintendent Dan Losquadro named as his chief deputy Tuesday the public safety official who helmed the town's emergency response to superstorm Sandy.
During Losquadro's swearing-in ceremony Tuesday at Town Hall in Farmingville, he announced that he had appointed the town's public safety Commissioner Anthony Gallino as his top aide. "I consider myself very lucky," Losquadro said to an audience of more than 100 people, citing Gallino's experience in construction and public safety.
Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said the deputy public safety commissioner, Peter O'Leary, will serve as acting head of that department until the town board appoints another commissioner.
Losquadro's installation as highway department head capped off an abbreviated but heated race for superintendent after former superintendent John Rouse stepped down Dec. 31 to become a county judge.
Losquadro, a Republican and former state assemblyman, faced off against town councilwoman Kathy Walsh, who switched party affiliation from Republican to Independence in order to run against Losquadro on the Democratic line.
The race intensified after the Feb. 8-9 blizzard, when some residents complained about roads being unplowed for as many as four days.
Acting superintendent Michael Murphy, who had been on medical leave during the blizzard, resigned in the wake of the criticism. Romaine also faced attacks, for being on vacation during the blizzard.
After the ceremony, Walsh said she wishes Losquadro "the best of luck" and that she would offer her ideas for improving the department. She also praised his selection of Gallino, who worked with Walsh during superstorm Sandy in late October when she was acting town supervisor. "I think he's going to do a fabulous job," she said. "He's really on the ball with emergency management, which is really great for the highway department."
Details on Gallino's salary were not immediately available, but in 2011, deputies made from $102,204 to $112,000.
Losquadro said he's forming a transition team to help analyze the department's immediate needs, including taking inventory of the vehicle stock. He said John Cappella, who was named acting superintendent after Murphy resigned, would return to his previous post as deputy superintendent during the transition.
After Losquadro names a new second deputy superintendent, Cappella is expected to return to his maintenance supervisor post.