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Legislature bill on Patrick Vecchio's Smithtown term '50-50,' says lawmaker

Smithtown Town Supervisor Patrick R. Vecchio talks to

Smithtown Town Supervisor Patrick R. Vecchio talks to Newsday reporters in Melville on April 5, 2013. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

A key lawmaker said Tuesday that it’s a tossup whether the State Legislature will give final passage to a bill that would patch a paperwork error and allow Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio and Councilwoman Lynne Nowick to complete their elected terms.

“I’d say it’s 50-50,” said Assemb. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-St. James), one of the primary sponsors of the measure.

Vecchio and Nowick, both Republicans, were elected to four-year terms last fall. But Town Clerk Vincent Puleo, a Conservative, had declared the posts vacant after both failed to sign a written oath of office within 30 days of taking office as required by state law.

In February, the town board appointed Vecchio and Nowick to one-year terms, the maximum allowed under the conditions. Fitzpatrick and state Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) introduced legislation to allow them to serve full four-year terms.

The State Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure 57-4 on Tuesday.

If the Assembly doesn’t follow suit, Vecchio and Nowick would have to run again in a special election this fall.

Fitzpatrick said some are concerned the remedy might set a sort of legal precedent.

“If we can get it done, fine. I’m hopeful,” he said. “Will it set a precedent? Maybe.”

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