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Editorial: Smithtown fracas does nothing to help town

Smithtown Town Supervisor Patrick R. Vecchio sits in

Smithtown Town Supervisor Patrick R. Vecchio sits in his den at his home in Kings Park on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014. Credit: Steve Pfost

Disingenuousness, thy name is Smithtown.

There certainly is more than enough to go around in the latest town hall fracas. Supervisor Patrick Vecchio and Councilwoman Lynne C. Nowick are officially not in those jobs, for the sin of failing to sign an oath of office. Town clerk Vincent Puleo declared the seats vacant -- the same word Vecchio's opponents have used to describe his leadership -- accomplishing what no foe could during Vecchio's 35-year run. He dethroned the longest-serving supervisor in Long Island history.

Until tomorrow, anyway. That's when the three properly certified town board members are scheduled to vote to reappoint Vecchio and Nowick, as they should. Whether state legislation is needed to allow the pair to serve the remainder of their terms without holding a special election in November is not clear. Vecchio, a Republican, won his 13th term last fall, defeating Conservative Councilman Robert Creighton after a bitter three-way battle, 45 percent to 30 percent.

The bad feelings clearly linger. Puleo, a Creighton supporter, surely knew Vecchio and Nowick hadn't signed their oaths and could have walked a few feet to their offices to remind them. Instead, he waited, ready to swing his mighty legal club. Vecchio and Nowick surely knew they had to sign oaths. Instead, they complained Puleo should have nudged them, and Vecchio labeled the matter a conspiracy against him. Creighton called that "ridiculous" and blamed Vecchio, saying he had signed the oath a dozen times in the past. Underscoring the silliness, each of them surely knew before all the righteous grandstanding began that this would be resolved quickly.

Smithtown faces considerable problems, including a declining downtown and decaying infrastructure. This squabble does nothing to help. It's time to get back to work.


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