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Smithtown board votes to cancel deputy supervisor's $30G raise

Smithtown Town Councilman Thomas McCarthy, who cast the

Smithtown Town Councilman Thomas McCarthy, who cast the deciding vote to give himself a $30,000 raise in the stipend he receives as deputy town supervisor, said he wants to rescind the increase. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The Smithtown Town Board voted unanimously Tuesday to rescind Deputy Supervisor Thomas McCarthy's $30,000 raise, but officials said the stipend increase may be included in the 2015 town budget.

The board voted 5-0 to cancel the increase at a special meeting originally called for another purpose.

Smithtown Town Attorney Matthew Jakubowski said the rescission "renders the previous resolution null and void."

McCarthy, who is also a town councilman, cast the deciding ballot in the 3-2 vote on Sept. 9 that raised his stipend from $5,000 to $35,000 -- a 600 percent increase.

Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio, who initially sought the stipend increase, said he may include it in his tentative budget, which he will present on Oct. 3.

"The government has gotten a lot more involved and there are issues I need him to assist me on," Vecchio said, adding that he has appointed McCarthy as liaison between the town and Hauppauge Industrial Park representatives. "It's no longer . . . a token position."

Vecchio said the deputy supervisor stipend has remained the same since 1970. "It's a very important position in that the deputy supervisor assumes all of the duties of the town supervisor in his absence . . . think of long illness as an example."

McCarthy wasn't immediately available for comment Tuesday.

On Monday, McCarthy said he put forth the resolution because he discovered voting on his own stipend increase "didn't rise to a vote of necessity," which Jakubowski said elected boards may use to act on matters where a recusal would prevent a quorum.

"I felt it wasn't the proper time," McCarthy added.

Councilman Edward Wehrheim said he voted for the resolution because "it should be put in the budget process . . . I applaud Mr. McCarthy for doing what he felt was right."

Peter Salins, a Stony Brook University professor of political science and director of the school's graduate public policy program, said the town's structure is problematic.

"The difficulty that Councilperson McCarthy and Deputy Supervisor McCarthy found himself in was, in fact, the dual role," he said, adding that ideally, legislative bodies would enact executive salaries. "There would be no conflict of interest because they're not the same people."

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