With 29 days remaining before Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci heads to the State Senate, town GOP leader Frank Tantone says polling to find a replacement has yet to be undertaken.
So Islip's new supervisor may be no new supervisor at all.
Tantone said the remaining four town board members, who have the power to appoint a new supervisor, have several options -- including not appointing a supervisor at all.
"We have a capable deputy supervisor who has quite a bit of experience without a supervisor," Tantone said, referring to town Deputy Supervisor Eric Hofmeister. "I think they're comfortable being in there without a supervisor because they just had that experience for over a year. By all counts, they did a pretty good job."
The transition is coming as the town faces challenges: The Suffolk district attorney is investigating the town's parks department after illegal dumping was discovered at a town-owned park in Brentwood; the park's remediation plan is behind schedule and is in need of improvement, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation; Long Island MacArthur Airport, owned and operated by the town, faces financial instability; and the town is wrestling with a $11.3 million deficit.
Hofmeister, Islip's commissioner of environmental control, was sworn in to the deputy supervisor post by Croci in May 2013 after Croci announced he would be deployed overseas in the Navy. Hofmeister, while he didn't have a vote on the board, acted as the town's chief executive until Croci's return in July.
Hofmeister, in 2006, was appointed interim supervisor after Pete McGowan resigned and pleaded guilty to felony charges stemming from the misuse of campaign funds.
"Until such time as the town board appoints a new supervisor, I will continue to fulfill the obligations of the office of deputy supervisor, including being the acting supervisor," Hofmeister said.
Croci said the decision is in the board's hands. He would not say which route would be best for the future of the town. "What's best for the town is a smooth and seamless transition for the residents," he said.
Councilman Anthony Senft, the board's sole Conservative Party member, said no possible replacements have been interviewed. "We have a variety of options and none of them have been decided on by the town board," he said.
Croci, a Republican who was elected supervisor in November 2011, will fill the 3rd District State Senate seat on Jan. 1, one year before his first elected term expires.
Council members John C. Cochrane Jr., Trish Bergin Weichbrodt, and Steven J. Flotteron, as well as Suffolk County Treasurer Angie Carpenter and Tom Cilmi, a Suffolk County legislator from Bay Shore, all Republicans, have been mentioned as possible picks.
Polling on those five names is expected to start in the next several days, Tantone said.