When Brookhaven Town elected officials were sworn in Monday during a ceremony at Town Hall, they knew they'd have more time in office before running for reelection.
Town residents in 2018 voted to double the length of terms for supervisor, town council and superintendent of highways from two years to four years. The measure, supported by 58% of voters, also capped service to a maximum of 12 years.
Officials said the longer terms, which take effect this year, will give them more time to finish complex projects that sometimes languished while they campaigned every two years. Term limits will ensure nobody stays in office too long, they said.
Republican Supervisor Edward P. Romaine and the town's six incumbent town council members, including five Republicans and one Democrat, all were reelected in November, as was GOP Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro.
Brookhaven officials talked about how the changes will affect their work. Here are excerpts.
Romaine: “The advantage of a four-year term is it gives you an opportunity to work on things that take a long time. I’ve been working on, for example, getting one of our rail lines electrified in Brookhaven. ... Meeting [with] the MTA, the state, everybody, and just keeping the pressure up, and only when you do that, after awhile, people relent."
Losquadro: “Having a four-year term will allow me to plan longer term. I think this job in particular, as superintendent of highways, has certainly been the job that requires me to look forward to the future the most.”
Councilman Dan Panico, Republican: "Politics has become big business, and the biannual cycle causes a lot of issues when they’re running because ... you have to focus, take on things that at times are very complicated, and being able to dedicate really 100% of your energies to your governmental work should reap rewards for the residents of this town.”
Councilwoman Valerie Cartright, Democrat: “A four-year term gives us as elected officials an opportunity to finish our long-term projects. For example, when we put forward an application for a grant and we’re awarded the grant, it takes some time for that to come to fruition.”
Councilman Michael Loguercio, Republican: "If you start on something today, it may take us three years to see it through the entire permit process and put a shovel in the ground. So that’s where really the people of the community are going to benefit, because we have more time to make projects come together.”
Councilman Kevin LaValle, Republican: “A lot of the projects that we deal with, it just doesn’t happen overnight, so it allows us to see a lot of those projects through to the end. ... So I think it’s a big advantage that we have this ability now to have four years like most other towns do throughout Suffolk County.”
Councilwoman Jane Bonner, Republican: “I feel like with the cohesive group like my colleagues and I are, we’ll get a lot more accomplished. ... We’ll be able to get more accomplished because we’ll have consistency over those four years."
Brookhaven was the last Long Island town where council members served two-year terms. Here are term lengths for supervisor in other towns.
Babylon: 4 years
East Hampton: 2 years
Huntington: 4 years
Islip: 4 years
Riverhead: 2 years
Shelter Island: 2 years
Smithtown: 4 years
Southampton: 2 years
Southold: 4 years
Hempstead: 2 years
North Hempstead: 2 years
Oyster Bay: 2 years