Losquadro calls for audit of highway department
Brookhaven highway superintendent-elect Dan Losquadro said he plans to have a consultant conduct an audit of the highway department, including all vehicles and personnel, before setting a firm agenda for the embattled department.
He also reiterated his intention to assemble a team who will fill vacancies in the department, such as two deputy supervisor posts.
"I can't make a presentation [about the department] without a comprehensive audit," he said.
His comments came a day after he won a tight race over town Councilwoman Kathy Walsh, who said she does not expect the more than 2,400 absentee ballots to impact the race. The Suffolk Board of Elections is expected to finish counting outstanding ballots on Monday or Tuesday. Losquadro said he could be sworn in Tuesday if the election is certified as early as Monday.
Unofficial voting results from all 295 districts showed Losquadro, a Republican, with a 12,170 to 11,338 vote lead over Walsh, an independent who ran on the Democratic line.
Losquadro, who will make $102,000 as superintendent and oversee a $70 million budget, is taking over a department that was widely criticized for its reaction to the Feb. 8-9 blizzard, which triggered the resignation of acting superintendent Michael Murphy. Another snowstorm is expected Thursday, but acting superintendent John Cappella could not be reached about the department's preparedness.
Losquadro said he has been in contact with Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine and the highway department, but stressed he doesn't "have any legal authority over the department" until he takes office.
His apparent win is creating a vacancy in the state Assembly that has already drawn attention from several Suffolk County politicians.
State officials said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo must set a special election to fill Losquadro's seat or decide to leave it vacant until the next general election in November. Cuomo's office did not return calls about the seat Wednesday.
The names of several Suffolk Republicans possibly in pursuit of the vacant seat surfaced Wednesday. Town GOP chairman Jesse Garcia confirmed former town councilman Kevin McCarrick and Bill Faulk, former chief of staff to Romaine at the county legislature, are contenders.
"We believe we have a strong stable of candidates," said Garcia, who noted party members from Riverhead should also be in the mix.
Reached by phone, Faulk said it was too soon to speculate on a run. "Given that Dan was elected yesterday, I haven't given it much thought," he said, adding that he'd been busy helping with Losquadro's campaign.
He did not rule out the possibility. "It's something I would look into, but it's way too early," said Faulk, who is the executive assistant to the Brookhaven planning commissioner.
Another Republican mentioned for a possible run is four-year Southold Councilman Christopher Talbot. "I'm interested in the position, but we have to wait and see what the party leaders want to do," he said. "I'm confident I can win the seat."
Neither Suffolk County Democratic Committee chairman Richard Schaffer nor Brookhaven Town Democratic Committee chairman Marc Alessi were available to comment about possible candidates.