TODAY'S PAPER
Broken Clouds 35° Good Evening
Broken Clouds 35° Good Evening
Business

Smithtown pol pushes plan to restructure town government

Smithtown Councilman Robert Creighton, seen in a July

Smithtown Councilman Robert Creighton, seen in a July 2013 file photo, is renewing his call to restructure town government by appointing commissioners to oversee several departments. Photo Credit: James Carbone

Smithtown Councilman Robert Creighton is renewing his call to restructure town government by appointing commissioners to oversee several departments.

In March, Creighton proposed consolidating current departments into categories for planning and development, human resources, public works and public safety -- each managed by a commissioner in an effort to improve accountability.

On May 5 at a work session, he asked the town board to again consider the change.

"If we utilize people from within . . . it will not cost the taxpayer anything, and what we would have is a more reasonable span of control," Creighton said at the meeting.

Commissioners would be appointed by the town board, and the positions would be nonunion, he said.

Addressing Supervisor Patrick Vecchio directly, Creighton said: "You're the supervisor directly responsible for 23 different appointees. That span of control by any business model doesn't work."

Vecchio said he thought restructuring was unnecessary.

"I have no problem with town government," he said at the work session. "I think we run very well."

Vecchio said he appoints town board members to act as liaisons with departments and if problems emerge, that liaison should bring them up at a board meeting.

"If department heads are not doing what we think they're doing, then we have an obligation to bring charges," he said. "That's our opportunity."

But Creighton countered, saying the board could still enhance the town's management.

"This would be an improvement, because we would have far more accountability than we have today," he said. "We do have liaison relationships with these department heads. Liaison is liaison. Direct control is something else."

Councilman Edward Wehrheim has voiced support for the plan. Councilman Thomas McCarthy has said a financial analysis would be needed to determine feasibility.

More news

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to Newsday is free for Optimum customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE