Frank Petrone is back.The former Huntington Town supervisor is the newly elected Huntington Town Democratic Committee chair.
He was elected to a two-year term Thursday night in a virtual election by the committee. He takes over for Mary Collins.
"Now starts the work," Petrone said. "I see we may have an opportunity next year to take the town back and certainly I want to put the town back on track for good government."
Republican Chad Lupinacci was elected supervisor in 2017 and began his four-year term in 2018. The Town Board is comprised of two Democrats, two Republicans including Lupinacci and an Independence Party member.
Petrone, 75, of Melville, announced in 2017 that he would not seek a seventh term as supervisor and was retiring after his term ended that year.
But Petrone said he got calls from residents and town employees unhappy with how town government was being run.
"When I had an opportunity to check some of the complaints out, it was true and it’s something that has created a morale problem in town," he said.
In an interview Friday, Lupinacci listed several of his administration's accomplishments including establishing term limits for elected officials and settlement of a lawsuit brought by the Long Island Power Authority over the tax assessment of the Northport power plant.
"We have an excellent workforce and morale is very high," Lupinacci said. "I wish Mr. Petrone the best of luck in his new position and I'm happy to see a former Republican is in charge of the Democratic Party."
Petrone changed his political affiliation from Republican to Democrat in 2002.
Petrone said one of his priorities as Democratic chairman will be to make sure the party committee is refreshed with more members of diverse ages and religious and ethnic backgrounds, while also mentoring a new generation of leaders.
"We’ve always been committed to diversity, now we have to work that into the committee itself," Petrone said.
County Democratic Leader Richard Schaffer said Petrone, "knows the ins and outs of the town, he’s got great contacts within the town and I think people have a great deal of respect for him."
Schaffer, also Babylon Town supervisor, said Petrone is, "not only going to be able energize the Huntington committee, but he won’t have to be someone on the ground learning. He already knows everything and will be able to shape a good town ticket for next year."
Collins, who did not seek reelection as town Democratic leader, will serve as county Democratic vice chair for the five western towns: Babylon, Brookhaven, Huntington, Islip and Smithtown.
The East End vice Democratic chair is Marge Acevedo.