Brookhaven officials on Thursday announced leadership changes brought on by a $20 million state grant and the retirement of the town assessor.
Waste management commissioner Matt Miner will step down from that post and become the town budget director as he leads Brookhaven's implementation of consolidation efforts funded by the state grant.
Miner, 51, of Center Moriches, also serves as the town's chief of operations and has helped craft the town's annual budget in an unofficial capacity. He needed to give up the waste management position to focus on developing innovative ways to cut costs by consolidating government services, Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said.
“We needed someone to concentrate on this grant because there is a lot of work involved in spending this $20 million,” Romaine said in an interview. “I couldn’t have him do three titles.”
Christopher Andrade, chief deputy of the town's waste management department, will succeed Miner as commissioner of that department.
Miner was the town's highest paid employee last year, making $157,792, according to town payroll data.
Romaine called Andrade, 55, of Bohemia, "a very competent guy" and said Miner would continue to advise officials in the town's Department of Recycling and Sustainable Materials Management, which supervises trash collection, the town landfill and Brookhaven's single-stream recycling program.
“I’m sure he'll do a great job, and I’m sure he’ll be available to waste management if an issue comes up,” Romaine said of Miner.
Town Assessor Ronald F. Devine Jr. will retire next week for health reasons, Romaine said. Devine will be succeeded on July 20 by senior assistant town attorney Richard DeBragga, who handles tax challenges for the town.
Romaine credited Devine with reaching a tentative settlement with the Long Island Power Authority in a dispute over tax assessments of the Port Jefferson power plant. Devine, 61, of Bayport, a former Islip Town assessor, also increased overall property assessment valuations since being hired by Brookhaven in September 2015 to serve as deputy town assessor.
Devine was promoted to assessor on Jan. 7, 2016, six days after the retirement of Assessor James Ryan. Devine was paid $130,420 last year, according to town payroll records.
“Ronnie has done a great job with our tax cases,” Romaine said.
DeBragga will complete Devine's term, which was set to expire on Sept. 30, 2019. Romaine said Devine would be retained as "a consultant on assessment matters."
“He can come back to work for up to $30,000 when he retires,” Romaine said.
Town assessors maintain property ownership records, estimate property values for tax purposes, and review applications for tax exemptions.
Devine, who had been Islip town assessor from 1998 to 2015, also is the president of the Bayport-Blue Point Public Library board of trustees.