Mastic Beach trustee Gary Stiriz has been in Florida since mid-January, neglecting his responsibilities to supervise plowing village streets after this winter's series of snow storms, village leaders said.
Mayor Bill Biondi said that Stiriz, who as trustee supervises the five-member public works staff, is responsible for snow removal, but has been absent for the past four winter storms, including Sunday night's snowfall.
Village officials said this is the second consecutive year Stiriz has left the village for an extended period during winter.
"If you're elected to do a job, then you need to do it," Biondi said. "If you run for a position, you have to be here in good times and bad times."
Biondi said he's been supervising snow removal while Stiriz has been gone.
Stiriz, who is not seeking re-election in the March 18 election, didn't return multiple calls seeking comment. Stiriz, 63, was elected to the Mastic Beach board of trustees in 2010. Board members, who serve for two years, are paid $6,000 a year.
"How can you move forward in the village?" Biondi asked. "It's difficult when one trustee is in Florida for four months out of the year," referring to the period Stiriz was away last year.
Stiriz owns Stiriz's Marina and Fishing Station in Mastic Beach.
Bellport Mayor Ray Fell said trustees in his village have not taken significant amounts of time off during his tenure since being elected in June 2013.
"Look, if the person isn't going to be . . . [around] I would ask that person to resign and we could appoint someone else to the position," Fell said.
Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri said Stiriz "has a moral obligation to be there for the residents who voted for him."
"It's unethical," Pontieri said of Stiriz's absence. "He's getting paid."
Biondi declined to address the issue of forcing Stiriz out for the remaining weeks of his term.
Stiriz's lengthy departure has left the five-member trustee board's votes split at 2-2. At the Jan. 13 board meeting, Stiriz was a critical factor in a 3-2 vote that transferred ownership of a 6-mile stretch of waterfront from the Mastic Beach Property Owners Association to the village.
Having Stiriz absent makes it difficult to adopt or reject resolutions, stalling board action on village business, Biondi said.
Other municipal leaders have been criticized recently for winter absences. Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine was criticized for being in Jamaica during a February 2013 blizzard, although he said the vacation was scheduled for a planned break before the storm.