Peter Gunther, new Huntington highway chief, says he's ready

Peter Gunther, who ousted Democratic Superintendent William Naughton

Peter Gunther, who ousted Democratic Superintendent William Naughton after 26 years in office, received the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines. (Aug. 26, 2013) (Credit: Barry Sloan)

The newly elected Town of Huntington highway superintendent says he is ready to get to work.

Peter Gunther, who ousted Democratic Superintendent William Naughton after 26 years in office, received the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines.

"I'm all about public service and I want to make sure that I deliver the best that I can," Gunther, 57, said Wednesday. He is a retired New York City firefighter living in Centerport.


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Among Gunther's first orders of business will be to get to know and gain support of his staff, update the emergency response plan for snowplowing, as well as safety and proper procedures when plowing. "I'd also like to sit down with Naughton and see where things are going and, hopefully, he will be kind enough to hand the reins over with no problem," Gunther said. Gunther takes office Jan. 1.

Naughton, 80, said once the vote is certified he would sit down with Gunther. Naughton, highway superintendent since his election in 1987, was philosophical about his loss. "I believe in destiny, whatever happens I accept it."

Meanwhile, Town Supervisor Frank Petrone narrowly prevailed in a campaign against Independence Party and town board member Gene Cook, one the incumbent called "expensive" and "rough." Petrone said the minor parties "ganged up" against him with the GOP.

"The moral of the story is: good government continues," Petrone, who begins his sixth term in January, said. "This speaks highly of our electorate, that they were not going to accept the games."

Cook said he and running mates for the town board, one-term incumbent Mark Mayoka and Josh Price, both Republicans, ran a "good, honest race" with facts that laid out their vision. "Frank Petrone and [town board member] Mark Cuthbertson used lies and deceit to get where they wanted to go and it's a shame how low they went," Cook said.

Huntington Town Republican chairwoman Toni Tepe said Wednesday with such a "razor thin" difference in the supervisor's race, she would not make any formal announcements until the vote is certified. There are more than 1,600 unofficial absentee ballots, according to the Suffolk County Board of Elections.

Mayoka lost to Democrat Tracey Edwards, a businesswoman who had run for the board twice. Mayoka said he phoned Petrone, Cuthbertson, a Democrat who won re-election, and Edwards to wish them well.

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