Ralph Scordino, the mayor of Babylon Village since 2002, died while he was out of town at his upstate home, village officials said.
Scordino, 71, died Wednesday in Cochecton in Sullivan County, where he owned a house, village officials said. The death was announced on the village’s Facebook page on Thursday.
The village board of trustees have not determined when they will vote on a new mayor. It was not immediately clear whether there eventually will be a special election involving the public.
Scordino was reelected to his fifth four-year term as mayor in 2019. He previously served as a village trustee.
Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said Scordino worked with the town on getting the area back on its feet after superstorm Sandy hit eight years ago.
"Most importantly, Mayor Scordino was the quintessential public servant who took pride in returning every phone call, responding to every inquiry and developing solutions to issues that came up under his watch," Schaffer said. "It was an honor to serve beside him during my time as town supervisor. It was a greater honor to call him a friend. He will be sorely missed by many."
Debbie Basile, who served as a village trustee from 2003 to 2018, said she was saddened by the loss of Scordino.
"Ralph was a dedicated hard worker," Basile said. "He loved Babylon Village and he put his heart and soul into that job. He was on call 24/7. He would get phone calls in the middle of the night. He wanted to know everything that was going on in the village."
Judy Skillen, vice president of the Babylon Village Historical and Preservation Society, said Scordino was supportive of new businesses while making sure to preserve the village's history.
"He tried to make sure the codes in the village benefited the village but made it so that things can move forward," said Skillen, who is a member of the village planning board. "Ralph was supportive of all organizations that we have in the village."
Skillen said between his work as a trustee and later as mayor, Scordino played an integral part in developing the village's downtown area.
"He hated seeing storefronts empty," Skillen said.
Kelly Peckholdt, president of the chamber of commerce for the village, said Scordino would make himself available to help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
"We’re truly grateful for the relationship he’s maintained with businesses," Peckholdt said.
A retired educator, Scordino started his political career in the village when he was elected as a trustee in 1987. In 2002, he was appointed as mayor following the death of then-Mayor E. Donald Conroy.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone called Scordino "a real giant in our community."
"Mayor Ralph Scordino dedicated his life to public service and to the village that he loved and led for so many years," Bellone said in a statement. "It is no coincidence that under his leadership Babylon Village thrived with a downtown that is regarded as one of the most vibrant in the region."
Scordino is survived by his wife and two children. Funeral arrangements have not been made public.