Democratic Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone has hired a former Republican candidate for town board to work in the municipal youth bureau, at the recommendation of board member Gene Cook, an Independence Party member.
Jennifer Thompson, 45, of Northport, who ran unsuccessfully for the town board in 2015 on the Republican and Reform lines, started work on Monday as a $41-an-hour community relations assistant.
The job is part-time with a maximum of 17.5 hours per workweek. Her responsibilities are to include working as a liaison with school districts and with the youth bureau on its drug prevention programs, Petrone said.
Town officials created the position and the Suffolk County Civil Service department approved the job title and description, town representatives said. As a part-time employee, Thompson will not be eligible for benefits or pension credits.
“We’ve been looking to target the gang situations and drug epidemic for several years by working more closely with our school districts,” Petrone said. “She [Thompson] has the credentials and she has ideas that feed what our needs are.”
Thompson served three terms on the Northport-East Northport Board of Education. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1994 from The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, California. She studied psychology and special education at California State University.
“It’s a great opportunity to serve the town,” Thompson said of the youth bureau job. “As a candidate, part of my goal was to say I love my community, I love the place we live in. I think there is a lot to offer here and I still want to bring some ideas to make it a stronger community.”
Thompson has been critical of the town board over the years and in her 2015 campaign focused on quality of life issues, transparency and ethics reform, and term limits for town board members in order to reduce cronyism and “protect residents from leaders seeking power instead of performance.”
Cook withdrew his name from running for supervisor when Thompson was not selected for the ticket. He later contacted Petrone about Thompson because she was seeking “career opportunities” Petrone said.
“Jennifer Thompson has a lot to offer Huntington and this hire is one of the smartest moves Frank’s done,” Cook said.