11/25/13 2:19pm
11/25/2013 2:19 PM
CARRIE MILLER FILE PHOTO | Southold Town Justice William Price celebrated his victory at the Democrats’ election night headquarters at Touch of Venice in Cutchogue earlier this month.

CARRIE MILLER FILE PHOTO | Southold Town Justice William Price celebrated his victory at the Democrats’ election night headquarters at Touch of Venice in Cutchogue earlier this month.

Southold Town Justice William Price said Monday that his next term will be his last.

The 62-year-old judge, who will be sworn in for his ninth term in January, said he does not plan to seek re-election in 2017.

“I’m not running ever again,” he said.

When asked why, he simply replied, “I’ll be 66 years old.”

Mr. Price, a former Republican, was first elected in 1981 when he defeated Democrat John Lee with 61 percent of the vote to replace Republican Justice James Rich, who did not seek re-election that year.

In office for 32 years, Mr. Price was dropped from the Republican ticket in favor of Mattituck attorney William Goggins this spring. But after receiving Democratic backing for the first time in his career, Mr. Price handily defeated his opponent with 59 percent of the vote.

Immensely popular, Mr. Price has only been challenged four times in his political career. After winning re-election by 70 percent of the vote in 1989, he ran uncontested in five consecutive elections prior to this November.

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11/06/13 12:45am
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Republican candidates celebrate a largely victorious election night at the Soundview Inn in Greenport.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Republican candidates celebrate a largely victorious election night at the Soundview Inn in Greenport.

Speaking with The Suffolk Times shortly after the Southold Town Republican Committee opted not to endorse senior judge William Price, GOP chairman Peter McGreevy said it was time to make a change.

“While no one doubts that [Judge Price] has served this town well,” he said in May, “the committee thought it was time for a change and acted upon that.”

The voting public disagreed.

Mr. Price, 62, still a registered Republican but running on the Democratic ticket, won overwhelmingly Tuesday, capturing 60 percent of the vote in his highly anticipated race against Mattituck attorney William Goggins.

“It feels great to have the people of Southold to put me back in office,” said Mr. Price of Greenport, who was first elected to his seat in 1981. “It feels good. I was hoping for that. I was thankful that the Democrats asked me to run for them so the people of Southold could choose who could be judge.”

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Southold Town Justice William Price celebrated his victory at the Democrats' election night headquarters at Touch of Venice in Cutchogue.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Southold Town Justice William Price celebrated his victory at the Democrats’ election night headquarters at Touch of Venice in Cutchogue.

When it comes time for him to be sworn in for his ninth term as Southold Town Justice this January, Mr. Price will be the only elected town official backed by Democrats. Republicans ensured as much by winning the other 11 seats up for grabs Tuesday, including two contested seats on the Town Board, three contested Trustee seats and all three Assessor posts.

So at the same time Mr. Price was smiling over his victory at the Democratic gala at Touch of Venice in Cutchogue, his old friends in the GOP were celebrating at the Republican party nine miles up the road at the Soundview Inn in Greenport.

“I’m very positive about the way the campaign was handled,” Mr. McGreevy said. “We worked hard and we had great candidates.”

The two Republican choices for Town Board, Jim Dinizio and Bob Ghosio, were elected with a combined 58 percent of the total vote — a drop from 2011 when the party secured close to 64 percent of the Town Board election, but more than enough to maintain a 5-0 Town Board majority. Mr. Dinizio, 59, of Greenport, a registered Conservative who was appointed to the Town Board in February to replace current County Legislator Al Krupski, a Democrat, was the top vote getter with 4,135 votes. Mr. Ghosio, 50, of Greenport, who will now be replaced on the town’s Board of Trustees, received 3,567 votes, 615 votes ahead of opponent Mary Eisenstein of Mattituck. Southold department store owner Ron Rothman, the other Democratic challenger, received 2,475 votes.

“You will never know how much I appreciate this and I will do the best job I can,” Mr. Dinizo said to his supporters following the announcement of the results from all 19 Southold Town election districts.

“It was an awful lot of work,” Mr. Ghosio added. “The Republicans are well appreciated in this town and it shows tonight.”

Ms. Eisenstein, 64, who said she continued her campaign through Election Day, starting her day outside Wendy’s Deli and Handy Pantry in Mattituck before knocking on doors and then making phone calls with the help of her husband, was feeling “neutral” as the results were being announced.

“It’s neat being here and being able to appreciate the process,” she said. “I think I have learned what it means to be a candidate.”

“No matter the outcome, it’s a positive experience,” said Mr. Rothman, 58. “I met a lot of great people.”

The last time Southold Republicans walked away from an election night with a 5-0 majority on the Town Board was in 1999 under the leadership of Supervisor Jean Cochran. The GOP had held that unanimous majority from 1997 to 2001, before Supervisor Josh Horton and Councilman Tom Wickham both claimed victory with Democratic backing in the 2001 election.

One of the first actions of the new Town Board will be to appoint a new trustee to replace Mr. Ghosio, when he joins the Town Board in January. A special election for the final year of the term will then be held in November, according to Mr. McGreevy.

Mr. Ghosio, who will replace Republican Chris Talbot on the Town Board, was far from the only candidate to win an open seat Tuesday. Former Councilman Vinny Orlando, a 52-year-old Republican from Southold, won the Highway Superintendent post vacated by 12-year incumbent Democrat Pete Harris, who like Mr. Talbot opted to not seek re-election this year. Assessor candidate Rich Caggiano, 64, of Southold will fill the two-year expired term of fellow Republican Darline Duffy, who retired June 1. And in the closest race of the night, Republican trustee candidate Charles Sanders of Greenport was elected to the seat left open when two-term incumbent Dave Bergen did not receive the Republican nomination this time around. Mr. Sanders edged Democrat Geoffrey Wells, 60, by just 578 votes.

“I’m excited,” said Mr. Sanders, 45. “This was my first time putting my hat in a political race.”

Incumbent Republican trustees John Bredemeyer and Mike Domino both won re-election easily, as did Assessors Bob Scott and Kevin Webster. Town Clerk Betty Neville and Fishers Island Justice Louisa Evans, both Republicans, ran unopposed and were also re-elected.

Republicans also scored a major win in the special election for the North Fork seat in the New York State Assembly, with Anthony Palumbo, 43, of New Suffolk, a law partner of Mr. Goggins. Mr. Palumbo won with 58 percent of the vote over 28-year-old Democrat John McManmon of Riverhead.

Despite his party winning just one town and one county race — Mr. Krupski was re-elected in a landslide to the county Legislature — Southold Town Democratic Committee chairman Art Tillman was positive when speaking of the Democrats’ campaign in his post-election speech to supporters.

“While this may seem like a loss it really isn’t,” he said. “This was the best run campaign I have ever worked on. We’ve got everything to be proud of.”

And among all the celebrating at the GOP gala, there was still that one town candidate who went home without a victory Tuesday.

“Life goes on,” said Mr. Goggins, 53. “I’ll continue to practice law. I met a lot of nice people on the campaign trail. It was a good experience.”

“He ran a good campaign and he will make an excellent judge one day,” Mr. McGreevy said.

But the 4,091 Southold Town residents who voted in favor of Mr. Price Tuesday made certain Mr. Goggins will at least have to wait for that day.

Read more in Thursday’s edition of The Suffolk Times.

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See the full results below:

Town Clerk, Town of Southold (Vote for 1)
Southold: reported:
19 of 19
100.00%
Ballots:
7,077

Elizabeth Ann Neville (REP, CON, IND)
5,130
99.96%
REP
3,289
64.09%
CON
865
16.86%
IND
976
19.02%
Write-in
2
0.04%

Total
5,132
100.00%

Superintendent of Highways, Town of Southold (Vote for 1)
Southold: reported:
19 of 19
100.00%
Ballots:
7,077

Eugene L Wesnofske III (DEM)
2,911
44.20%
Vincent M Orlando (REP, IND)
3,671
55.74%
REP
3,238
49.16%
IND
433
6.57%
Write-in
4
0.06%

Total
6,586
100.00%

Town Justice, Town of Southold (Vote for 1)
Southold: reported:
19 of 19
100.00%
Ballots:
7,077

William H Price Jr (DEM, WOR)
4,091
59.15%
DEM
3,615
52.27%
WOR
476
6.88%
William C Goggins (REP, CON, IND)
2,824
40.83%
REP
1,991
28.79%
CON
518
7.49%
IND
315
4.55%
Write-in
1
0.01%

Total
6,916
100.00%

Town Justice (Fishers Island), Town of Southold (Vote for 1)
Southold: reported:
19 of 19
100.00%
Ballots:
7,077

Louisa P Evans (REP, CON, IND)
4,687
99.91%
REP
3,049
65.00%
CON
753
16.05%
IND
885
18.87%
Write-in
4
0.09%

Total
4,691
100.00%

Councilman, Town of Southold (Vote for 2)
Southold: reported:
19 of 19
100.00%
Ballots:
7,077

Mary Eisenstein (DEM, WOR)
2,952
22.48%
DEM
2,659
20.25%
WOR
293
2.23%
Robert Ghosio (REP, CON, IND)
3,567
27.17%
REP
2,574
19.61%
CON
670
5.10%
IND
323
2.46%
Ronald J Rothman (DEM, WOR)
2,475
18.85%
DEM
2,241
17.07%
WOR
234
1.78%
James Dinizio Jr (REP, CON, IND)
4,135
31.50%
REP
2,960
22.55%
CON
750
5.71%
IND
425
3.24%
Write-in
0
0.00%

Total
13,129
100.00%

Assessor, Town of Southold (Vote for 2)
Southold: reported:
19 of 19
100.00%
Ballots:
7,077

Terry Hofer (DEM)
1,994
15.26%
Robert I Scott Jr (REP, CON, IND)
4,708
36.04%
REP
3,363
25.74%
CON
790
6.05%
IND
555
4.25%
Marie A Domenici (DEM)
2,104
16.11%
Kevin W Webster (REP, CON, IND)
4,255
32.57%
REP
3,010
23.04%
CON
765
5.86%
IND
480
3.67%
Write-in
2
0.02%

Total
13,063
100.00%

Assessor, Town of Southold (Unexpired Term) (Vote for 1)
Southold: reported:
19 of 19
100.00%
Ballots:
7,077

Jason A Petrucci (DEM)
2,424
37.98%
Richard L Caggiano (REP, CON, IND)
3,956
61.98%
REP
2,842
44.52%
CON
698
10.94%
IND
416
6.52%
Write-in
3
0.05%

Total
6,383
100.00%

Trustee, Town of Southold (Vote for 3)
Southold: reported:
19 of 19
100.00%
Ballots:
7,077

Joseph J Finora Jr (DEM)
2,305
12.13%
John M Bredemeyer III (REP, CON, IND)
4,231
22.26%
REP
2,993
15.75%
CON
749
3.94%
IND
489
2.57%
William C Funke (DEM)
2,032
10.69%
Michael J Domino (REP, CON, IND)
4,228
22.25%
REP
2,970
15.63%
CON
772
4.06%
IND
486
2.56%
Geoffrey M Wells (DEM, WOR)
2,810
14.79%
DEM
2,588
13.62%
WOR
222
1.17%
Charles J Sanders (REP, CON, IND)
3,388
17.83%
REP
2,413
12.70%
CON
671
3.53%
IND
304
1.60%
Write-in
10
0.05%

Total
19,004
100.00%

Click below for a recap of our live election night coverage:

 

11/05/13 11:25am
11/05/2013 11:25 AM

Residents looking to cast a ballot on Tuesday for several public offices, as well as a list of ballot propositions can vote in these locations between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Cutchogue East Elementary School

34900 Main Road

Cutchogue

Cutchogue Fire House

260 New Suffolk Road

Cutchogue

East Marion Fireman’s Hall

9065 Main Road

East Marion

Fishers Island Community Center

66 Hound Lane

Fishers Island

Greenport Fire House

236 Third Street

Greenport

Greenport High School

720 Front Street

Greenport

Greenport United Methodist Church

621 Main Street

Greenport

Mattituck High School

15125 Main Road

Mattituck

Orient Public Hall

1160 Village Lane

Orient

Southold Fire House

55135 Main Street

Southold

Southold High School

420 Oaklawn Avenue

Southold

Southold Town Recreation Center

970 Peconic Lane

Peconic

11/04/13 8:00am
11/04/2013 8:00 AM

electionLocals head to the polls on Tuesday to vote for their picks for several public offices, as well as a list of ballot propositions that include a state-permitted casino gambling referendum.

Below is a recap of the candidates who are seeking public office.

TOWN COUNCIL

Four-year term, two open seats

Salary: $33,218

Candidates: James Dinizio, Mary Eisenstein, Robert Ghosio, Ronald Rothman

TOWN JUSTICE

Four-year term, one open seat

Salary: $67,950

Candidates: William Price, William Goggins

TOWN TRUSTEE

Four-year term, three open seats

Salary: $18,344

Candidate profiles: John Bredemeyer, Michael Domino, Joseph Finora, Geoffrey Wells, William Funke, Charles Sanders

TOWN HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT

Four-year term, one open seat

Salary: $100,857

Candidate profiles: Vincent Orlando, Eugene Wesnofske

TOWN ASSESSOR

Four-year term, two open seats

Salary: $72,638

Candidate profiles: Robert Scott, Kevin Webster, Marie Domenici, Terry Hofer

TOWN ASSESSOR

Two-year, unexpired term; one open seat

Salary: $72,638

Candidate profiles: Richard Caggiano, Jason Petrucci

COUNTY LEGISLATURE
Two-year term, part-time
Salary: $96,958

Candidate profiles: Albie DeKerillis and Al Krupski

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
Two-year term, full-time
2014 salary: $79,500 plus per diem

Candidate profiles: Anthony Palumbo and John McManmon

11/03/13 12:00pm
11/03/2013 12:00 PM

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | This year’s political signs appear to be larger than others in past years, including this Judge Bill Price sign along Main Road in Laurel.

A colony of political yard signs exists on a rise of land at the intersection of Main Road and Aldrich Lane in Laurel.

“Experience counts. Re-elect Judge Bill Price,” one large sign reads. “Vote for Tobie Wesnofske, Superintendent of Highways,” another says.

The barrage of signs isn’t an unusual sight; indeed, during election years, political signs seem to be everywhere. And while their design scheme may seem straightforward enough — a dabble of red, a smattering of blue and the candidate’s name in block letters are all typical features — considerable thought goes into the creation and execution of the average 18-by-24-inch sign.

“My idea of a good lawn sign is whether or not it can be read from a car driving past it at 40 miles per hour,” said Peter McGreevy, chairman of the Southold Republican Committee. He said the political yard signs of all Republican nominees in Southold Town use the same fonts and colors to maintain consistency across the party slate.

“The name of the person and what office they’re running for is the most important message to get across,” he said.

Art Tillman, chairman of the Southold Democratic Committee, has similar ideas regarding the efficacy of political yard signs.

“It’s not a science as to what works and doesn’t work,” Mr. Tillman said. “We generally go with capital letters. The colors and the contrast are important.”

Extremely important, he found out.

“Eight years ago, possibly 10, we brought a couple of people into our meetings who were supposedly designers,” Mr. Tillman said. “They recommended signs with a light green background with white letters – or vice versa, I don’t recall. Anyway, when we got the signs we were shocked. When we put them on the road you could hardly read them. It was a disaster.”

What works best? After 25 years at Wedel Signs on West Main Street in Riverhead, designer Ted Squires has concluded that simplicity is key.

“As far as the wording goes, keep it simple,” he said. “Include your name, what you’re running for, and either ‘elect’ or ‘re-elect.’ The more you put on [the sign], the less people will read.”

While it remains to be seen which candidates will prevail at the polls — and, ostensibly, whether or not their placards could be judged as effective or not — political yard signs have had a place in American history since the years immediately following World War II, said Stanley Klein, professor of political science at C.W. Post Long Island University in Brookville.

The reason, he said, is simple: more Americans owned houses with lawns following the war.

And political yard signs do work, Mr. Klein said, although he considers door-to-door stumping for votes a candidate’s best shot of getting elected.

“In Nassau County during the 1968 election, there was an assemblyman running by the name of Marty Ginsberg,” Mr. Klein said. “He had 45 four-by-eight signs put up around his election district. Newsday’s comment [at the time] was, ‘It is no longer Plainview. It is Ginsberg-ville.’ By the way, he was re-elected.”

More than 40 years later, local candidates are still hoping that a purposefully positioned yard sign can make the difference between defeat and victory.

“I think they’re effective in getting the message out that a candidate is running,” Mr. McGreevy said. “In some ways, they’re the equivalent of wearing your favorite sports team’s cap or jersey.”

[email protected]

11/03/13 8:01am
Albie DeKerillis and Al Krupski

Albie DeKerillis and Al Krupski

 COUNTY LEGISLATURE

Two-year term, part-time

Salary: $96,958

ALBIE DeKERILLIS

Hamlet: East Marion

Occupation: Maintenance

Party line: Republican

About him: Mr. DeKerillis, 46, graduated from culinary school and served in the U.S. Army before continuing to serve in various roles on the North Fork. He has served on the Orient/East Marion Parks District as commissioner, chairman and treasurer and currently volunteers as an EMT in Greenport. He ran unsuccessfully for Town Board in 2009.

His pitch: Mr. DeKerillis says he is running for office because he wants to help county government get a handle on taxes, create jobs and protect open space and farmland. Diverse opinions can lead to new ideas, he says, and a fresh look at what can be done.

In his words: “When you elect me to represent you, I will do the absolute best of my ability, and work day and night to prevent what is now happening in Washington from ever happening in Suffolk County.”

AL KRUPSKI

Hamlet: Cutchogue

Occupation: Farmer

Party lines: Democratic, Independence, Conservative

About him: Mr. Krupski, 53, is a fourth-generation farmer who was born and raised in Cutchogue. He was first elected to office in 1985 as a Southold Town Trustee, a position he held for 20 years, the last 14 as chairman. In 2005, he was elected to the Southold Town Board and served for seven years. He was elected to the Suffolk County Legislature in January of this year in a special election.

His pitch: Thirty years ago, when he was first asked to run for Town Trustee, Mr. Krupski recalls having no experience at all politically, being born and raised on a farm. But that farm experience, he said taught him how to work hard until a job was done, make decisions under ever-changing circumstances and to work with people are all lessons that he says he learned from the family he worked with.

In his words: “As a Suffolk County legislator, I know about the quality-of-life issues that are important on the East End and I will continue to work hard to protect them.”

11/03/13 8:00am

Krupski-web-1

Incumbent county Legislator Al Krupski is running for his first full term on the county level after winning a special election earlier this year against Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter. After earning two-thirds of the vote over Mr. Walter, someone who has proven himself on the town level, Mr. Krupski now faces someone who has less experience in public office in Republican candidate Albie DeKerillis.

Mr. Krupski is the clear choice to earn a full term in office this fall.

Mr. DeKerillis faces a steep uphill battle against Mr. Krupski, who has 28 years in public office under his belt. While seemingly hard-working and community-oriented — Mr. DeKerillis holds down two jobs while volunteering as an EMT — the Republican offers no clear plan to implement his number one priority, which he says would be bringing high-paying jobs to Suffolk County’s 1st District.

With budget woes a constant conversation at the county level, Mr. Krupski — endorsed by the Conservative Party as well as Democratic and Independence parties — brings a track record of fiscal right-mindedness that benefits residents in the 1st District and throughout Suffolk. Mr. Krupski went so far earlier this year as to reject spending $200,000 of borrowed money for a study that would have looked into the economic impacts the Peconic Bay Estuary offers, something he called a waste of taxpayer money. Given the Peconic Estuary Program’s library of reports, it’s clear those studies have already been done, and borrowing funds to study the issue again offers a questionable return on investment.

Mr. Krupski – a farmer himself – has focused most publicly on farmland preservation during his first 10 months in office, at one point earning the public scorn of some longtime environmentalists. But Mr. Krupski went back to the drawing board on his original plan to meet critics in the middle and further hone the plan. In addition, he has helped guide changes to the county farmland preservation code that were crafted with the support of those most in favor of saving what’s left. This flexibility is admirable, as is the effort to preserve the county’s remaining undeveloped land with a limited bankroll.

But one thing we do hope Mr. Krupski takes with him back to the Legislature, should he earn the votes, would be Mr. DeKerillis’ zeal to create high-paying jobs in the district, particularly at the Enterprise Park at Calverton.

Farm-related jobs are a vital part of the North Fork economy, but the future of the district’s western portion will rely heavily on whether or not businesses are drawn to EPCAL. Having a legislator in the majority who will promote positive change there should help hasten that process, and we hope Mr. Krupski continues to work with his peers and colleagues at the town and state levels toward that end. Mr. Krupski has shown during his time in office he can respond to his constituents’ needs and deliver for them.

11/02/13 2:00pm
11/02/2013 2:00 PM

(From left): Richard Caggiano, Robert Scott and Kevin Webster

In the past 20 years, Democrats have challenged for the position of Southold Town Assessor only once — in 1995, when they secured just 32 percent of the vote.

The office has long been controlled by three mostly unopposed Republicans: Robert Scott and Kevin Webster, who are up for re-election this year, and Darline Duffy, who retired June 1. Ms. Duffy’s retirement means all three seats will be voted on Tuesday.

For the first time in 18 years, Democrats have chosen to nominate a full slate of assessor candidates, picking Marie Domenici and Terry Hofer to run against Mr. Scott and Mr. Webster, and Jason Petrucci against Republican challenger Richard Caggiano in a special election for the final two years of Ms. Duffy’s unexpired term.

On one hand, it’s nice to see the Southold Town Democrats running a mostly full slate of candidates — the party did not endorse for Fishers Island Justice or town clerk — in a year when all the incumbents on the ballot are Republican.

On the other hand, we believe many of this year’s Democratic candidates came up short in terms of qualifications. Nowhere is this more evident than in the assessor race, where none of the three Democratic challengers has any work experience in the real estate or accounting industries. While it’s good to see an underdog political party fill out a ballot with a full slate of candidates, it’s troubling to learn that some of those candidates aren’t exactly qualified for the office they seek.

Of the three Democrats running for assessor, Mr. Petrucci, a student of government who is fully up to speed on the goings on at Town Hall, is best suited for a government post. He said he scored well on his civil service exam and it would be good to see his number called for a union position.

That said, it’s hard to argue that he’s more qualified than Mr. Caggiano — a municipal accountant who most recently worked in the county comptroller’s office — for Ms. Duffy’s former job.

Ms. Domenici and Ms. Hofer are among the most personable candidates on this year’s ballot but this is no congeniality contest. Mr. Scott and Mr. Webster are two of the hardest-working and most knowledgeable staffers in all of Town Hall. Southold is a town with nearly 1,300 property tax grievance cases each year and just as many homeowners approaching the assessor’s office directly with a grievance. It’s a high-demand public and customer service position that demands institutional knowledge. It would be a shame to see either Mr. Scott or Mr. Webster booted from his current position by an unqualified opponent.

Ms. Domenici’s primary talking point during the campaign was to educate the public on how the assessor’s office works. However, she freely admitted during the campaign that she herself has no knowledge of the inner workings of the office. Ms. Hofer, too, seemed to lack basic knowledge of how the assessor’s office operates.

Mr. Scott, an assessor for the past 24 years, said that if re-elected this year he will not run again in 2017. We hope Democrats will use the next four years to produce a more qualified assessor candidate than the three on the ballot this year.

11/02/13 12:00pm

Town Highway Superintendent candidates Vincent M. Orlando (left) and Eugene L. Wesnofske.

HIGHWAY  SUPERINTENDENT
Four-year term, one open seat
Salary: $100,857

Vincent M. Orlando
Hamlet: Southold
Occupation: Community volunteer
Party lines: Republican, Independence

About him: Mr. Orlando, 52, grew up in Miller Place. His father worked in the Brookhaven Town Highway Department and was also a Long Island Sound lobsterman. Mr. Orlando is married with two children and has lived in Southold Town for more than 20 years. His community volunteer work includes serving as the Southold Town parks and recreation committee chairman, a member of the Southold Town’s renewable energy committee and a CAST volunteer. He has also served on the Southold Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals and was a Southold Town councilman from 2007 to 2011, before not seeking re-election.

His pitch: Mr. Orlando believes a combination of practical and theoretical skills is the best approach to finding long-term solutions in the highway department. He also believes the current staff’s talent has been under-utilized and plans to better tap into individual laborers’ skills to create a more efficient department.

In his words: “Through my leadership, I will reduce duplication of services and improve preventive maintenance of our equipment and our infrastructure.”

Eugene L. Wesnofske

Hamlet: Cutchogue

Occupation: Auto mechanic, farmer

Party line: Democratic

About him: Mr. Wesnofske, 32, is a Southold Town native who grew up on his family farm in Peconic, where he continues to help out. He’s also worked at Wheeler’s Garage in Southold for 12 years. Mr. Wesnofske is a member of the Long Island Antique Power Association.

His pitch: Mr. Wesnofske said he believes he’s qualified for the highway superintendent position because of his farming experience. On the farm, he said, he learned about planning, marketing, bookkeeping, supervising of employees and the mechanics of different equipment. During the off-season, Mr. Wesnofske said he also plows snow and does tree work.

In his words: “I am comfortable with myself and my skills and I know that I am capable of doing what I have been called upon to do.”

11/02/13 11:59am

Vincent Orlando

It’s been eight years since the residents of Southold Town have had a choice in an election for highway superintendent. Democrat Pete Harris, who ran unopposed in 2009 and won by slim margins over Republican Everett Glover in each of his two contested races, would have faced stiff competition this year from former councilman Vincent Orlando, a Republican.

But hours before the Democratic nominating convention, Mr. Harris announced he would not seek re-election after 12 years in office.

With little time to find a replacement, Democrats ultimately settled on nominee Eugene “Tobie” Wesnofske, a local farmer and auto mechanic from Cutchogue.

A nice guy with a blue-collar work ethic and a head for mechanics, Mr. Wesnofske seems an ideal candidate for a hands-on highway post, but not necessarily for the more hands-off managerial role of highway superintendent.

We believe Mr. Orlando, who certainly made it a point during the campaign to prove he, too, can put on his blue-collared shirt, is better suited to assume the very white-collar role of leading a department that operates on a nearly $6 million annual budget and whose employees have as much impact on public safety as any town staffers outside police headquarters. (While Mr. Wesnofske brought a copy of Southold Supervisor Scott Russell’s proposed 2014 budget to his Suffolk Times editorial board interview last week, he said he had not yet looked at it.)

Mr. Orlando’s one term on the Southold Town Board and his other town experience have given him a lot of insight into how the town operates. He has vowed to spend his first term assessing the highway department’s equipment needs and improving efficiency by matching laborers with assignments based on their specific skills.

Unlike Mr. Wesnofske, Mr. Orlando adequately outlined his plan during this campaign. He is easily the better choice.