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Brookhaven Town Board considers speeding up time for special elections

Brookhaven Town hall is shown in this file

Brookhaven Town hall is shown in this file photo. Credit: Newsday / Bill Davis

A disagreement among Brookhaven Town Board members over whether to speed up special election campaigns has led to the postponement of a public hearing on the topic.

Officials said Monday the hearing would not be held Tuesday, as scheduled. No new date was announced.

Brookhaven may need to hold a special election if Councilman Timothy Mazzei seeks another elected office. He is considered a top Republican candidate for a Suffolk County judge race later this year.

Supervisor Edward P. Romaine proposed shortening the time it takes to hold a special election to 30 to 60 days after an elected office becomes vacant. Town law now calls for an election 60 to 90 days after a vacancy occurs.

Councilwoman Connie Kepert said she opposes the proposed change.

"We want there to be enough time for people to evaluate the candidates, and we thought that 30 days was way too short," Kepert said. "The idea here is to allow people to have enough time to make the decision, and to have the people make the decision and not the political parties."

Romaine said he wanted to avoid a repeat of the calamity after the February 2013 blizzard that snarled roads while the town's highway superintendent post was vacant. John Rouse had resigned the position in December 2012 to become a county judge.

Daniel Losquadro assumed the office after winning a special election a month after the blizzard.

"The reason we had a disaster with the snowstorm is that it took us 90 days to get Dan into office," Romaine said. "It's hard to let a department like that be rudderless."

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