Smithtown Town Board members have made appointments on several positions for one-year terms, but split votes over planning board selections.
The board voted 5-0 Tuesday to reappoint town attorney Matthew Jakubowski, town engineer Mark Riley and town Comptroller Donald Musgnug to terms from Jan. 1, 2016, through Dec. 31, 2017.
The board also voted unanimously to reappoint Steven Gargiulo as a member of the board of zoning appeals for a four-year term and designate board member Edward Benz as zoning board chairman. Benz replaces Adrienne Giannadeo, who was appointed to the post in 2010, records show. Giannadeo could not be reached for comment.
Councilman Edward Wehrheim broke ranks with fellow board members, including newcomer Lisa Inzerillo, when he voted against the appointment of William Marchesi as a planning board member and the designation of Conrad Chayes as chairman of the planning board.
Marchesi, who was appointed from Jan. 1, 2016, to Dec. 31, 2020, will replace Paul Damato, who was appointed in 2013 to fill an unexpired term through the end of 2015, records show.
Damato, a partner in an East Norwich-based law firm who has practiced real estate law for about 30 years, said he thought the appointment change was political in nature because he supported ex-Councilman Robert Creighton’s 2013 for supervisor against Patrick Vecchio.
Marchesi, a safety supervisor for a school bus company, said in an interview that this is his first town board appointment. He ran unsuccessfully last year for a seat on the Commack school district board of education and is a member of the Smithtown Republican Committee. He said he has lived in Commack for 57 years and wants to have input on its future.
“I’m really looking to keep Smithtown the way it is,” he said. “It’s a nice, clean town and I’m really looking to keep it that way.”
Vecchio said Chayes and Marchesi got his votes because “change, on occasion, is very good.”
Councilwoman Lynne C. Nowick agreed. “It doesn’t mean change because somebody on the board isn’t doing a good job. It means change for the sake of change,” she said in an interview Thursday. “Change brings about somebody else with different ideas and different principles.”
Wehrheim said Damato and former planning board chairman James Ehrhardt both “performed exemplary on those boards. They have the experience that’s necessary, in my opinion, to be on the planning board.”
Wehrheim said he received correspondence addressed to the entire board from Damato and Ehrhardt, saying that they wanted to be reappointed to their positions. “I see absolutely no reason why we would replace them with the other two gentlemen, who I never received any correspondence from,” Wehrheim said.
Chayes, who has been a planning board member for two years, said he was honored by the appointment to chairman.
“I don’t know exactly how it happened, but I feel that a majority of the board felt I was qualified, and it is a great honor to work to make Smithtown an even better place in which to live,” he said.
Chayes, who retired in 2009 as a government liaison officer with the Suffolk County Department of Public Works, said maintaining home values and quality of life is important to him.
CORRECTION: Lynne C. Nowick is a member of the Smithtown Town Council. Her current title in a photo caption was incorrect in previous versions of this story.