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Islip public works chief joins state group

Islip Town’s Commissioner of the Department of Public Works has been elected to the executive board of the New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways.

Rich Baker, 55, of Bayport, will serve as one of 16 voting members representing 932 towns throughout the state. The association has more than 1,100 members. Baker was asked to serve on the association’s Legislative Committee, representing the downstate counties of Suffolk, Nassau and Westchester.

“The organization is a strong advocate for local highway funding, particularly in upstate areas where it’s their primary funding source,” said Long Island Contractors’ Association executive director Mark Herbst.

Without the population density to support business and industry, or a property tax base — such as on Long Island — the largely elected highway superintendents of the association work to leverage funding from the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program, from which funding is apportioned by formula, said Herbst, a former state assemblyman who served as the ranking member of the Assembly Transportation Committee.

Baker would bring a downstate perspective that might broaden the association’s agenda, Herbst added.


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