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Huntington keeps tradition of putting officials’ names on signs

A sign in Veterans Park in East Northport,

A sign in Veterans Park in East Northport, seen on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, has been updated to list newly elected Huntington Town officials. Credit: Raychel Brightman

Huntington Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci has continued with the tradition of displaying officials’ names on municipal signs in parks and at town facilities.

Bucking a growing trend on Long Island to stop the practice, new signs recently went up around Huntington with the names of the officials in the new administration.

After Tuesday night’s town board meeting, Lupinacci said having the names on the signs offers transparency and provides access.

“As a government professor, I always think it’s good when constituents know who their elected officials are,” Lupinacci said. “I look at it so they know who to contact if they see litter in the park or damage to a fence.” Lupinacci teaches at Farmingdale State and St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue.

He was elected in November and is the first new supervisor in Huntington in 24 years. The names of former Supervisor Frank Petrone and other elected officials were displayed on signs in past administrations.

At least eight Long Island town or city leaders recently started adopting or considering a policy of no names on signs other than that of the town and the facility, basing their decisions on finances and appeals to principle.

Town board members Mark Cuthbertson and Gene Cook said they support the decision to continue with printing the names of town officials on signs. They said it helps identify who is in office. The newest board members are also supportive.

“I think it’s not a bad idea for residents to know who their town board members are so they can make contact with them if they see something they want to address or report,” said board member Joan Cergol, who was appointed to the board in December to fill a vacancy.”

Ed Smyth, elected in November, said the signs also help remind town officials they are responsible for the facilities that bear their names.

Town officials said it cost “under $2,000” to change the signs, which use individual replacement placards, but they didn’t know how many signs were changed.

Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen last week replaced 107 signs bearing elected officials’ names to reduce self-promotion and save money during election turnover. They were replaced with signs that read “Welcome to your Town of Hempstead” at a cost of $4,600.

Supervisor Ed Wehrheim, who is the first new Smithtown supervisor in four decades, this month said he wanted to end the names-on-signs practice, as did Glen Cove Mayor Timothy Tenke and Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith.

Representatives for Babylon, North Hempstead and Suffolk County said those municipalities printed elected officials’ names on signs.

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