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Long IslandTowns

Assembly passes bill to give Smithtown's Vecchio, Nowick full terms

Declaring victory are, from left, Councilman Thomas McCarthy,

Declaring victory are, from left, Councilman Thomas McCarthy, Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio, Superintendent of Highways Glenn Jorgensen and Legis. Lynne C. Nowick at the Watermill Inn in Smithtown on Sept. 10, 2013. Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Legislation to allow two Smithtown officials to complete their full four-year elected terms instead of having to run again in November passed in the Assembly yesterday, moving the bill to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's desk.

The bill will preserve the terms of Smithtown Town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio and Councilwoman Lynne C. Nowick, who failed to file their oaths of office within 30 days of taking office on Jan. 1, as required by state law.

State Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) and Assemb. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-St. James) sponsored the bill, which the Senate passed in April. The bill was returned to the Senate, which then forwards it to Cuomo for his signature, Fitzpatrick said.

"I'm optimistic that the governor will sign," Fitzpatrick said. "It respects the will of the people. Mr. Vecchio and Ms. Nowick should not have to go through another election just because of a simple oversight."

The bill's passage came days after the Smithtown Republican Committee designated Vecchio and Nowick as their candidates and began to circulate petitions for them to run in November. Committee chairman Bill Ellis said Vecchio and Nowick were designated as the committee's candidates last week.

"I'm still continuing with the petitions just to be safe," Ellis said late Monday.

Ellis, who is also a deputy commissioner of the Suffolk County Board of Elections, said if Cuomo signs the bill, "the state board of elections notifies Suffolk County Board of Elections that there's no need to place them on the ballot for November's general election."

Conservative Town Clerk Vincent Puleo declared Vecchio and Nowick's offices vacant after they failed to file written oaths, but they were appointed to one-year terms by the remaining town board in February.

Smithtown Conservative Committee chairman Gary Forte and Smithtown Democratic Committee chairman Ed Maher said early Monday that they did not plan to put up candidates against Vecchio and Nowick.

"The supervisor and Lynne Nowick had a responsibility to sign those oaths," Maher said. "But on balance the voters have already voted. . . . We're going to respect the voters' decision."

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