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As year ends, Southold Town says farewell to several longtime officials

A new year, a new town government. 2022 will bring several new faces to elected positions with Southold Town, and several retirements. 

Town Clerk Elizabeth Neville is among the outgoing retirees, after a career in public service that has spanned half a century. She described her work keeping the town afloat throughout the pandemic in an October guest spot with The Suffolk Times, “serving the public by telephone, email and out of the office back window as best as possible.” 

“The Town Clerk’s Office was never at a standstill,” she wrote. Ms. Neville did not respond to an interview request from The Suffolk Times.

She has served as Town Clerk for the last 24 years, spearheading efforts to modernize town operations. She’s won grants to inventory and organize town records and to upgrade technology at town hall, and has been honored with several awards for her services. In her guest spot, she noted that all cited her accomplishments in records management.

Peter Meeker, who has worked extensively with the town over the years, said she “stands out” among the retirees. 

“She’s been so professional and competent at her job, it’s hard to imagine someone taking her place. I think Denis Noncarrow, who is going to take her place, has some big shoes to fill,” Mr. Meeker said. Mr. Noncarrow, formerly government liaison officer, was elected to the Town Clerk office starting in January.

“She’s always one that’s quietly worked behind the scenes to get her job done or whatever job she’s doing there with the town … and to modernize the systems as time went on,” Dave Bergen, who has served as a town Trustee, added. “She’s one that works so hard behind the scenes and never asks for credit for anything.”

Other retirees include Town Board members Bob Ghosio and Jim Dinizio. Both have served the town for years even before their time on the Town Board. 

“I just appreciate how much the folks in town have supported me through the 15 years that I’ve been elected,” Mr. Ghosio said. “I hope that I, most of the time, have done things or represented them in a way that they felt was right and honest. It’s been a true honor to serve the town that I live in.”

He added that he was “thrilled” he was able to serve the public at an age where his children could witness him “serve in the community that we lived in.”

Mr. Ghosio cited among his government accomplishments stormwater drainage projects, the town’s collaboration to preserve acreage at Island’s End golf course, fighting against the dumping of dredged materials from Connecticut in the waters surrounding Fishers Island and, as a town Trustee, helping to create compliance codes and certification “so that the Trustees had some ability to be able to regulate folks that were breaking rules” on their permits. 

Mr. Dinizio cited accreditation for the Southold Police Department, which he hopes will be completed by the end of the year, granting the first special exception to a winery/tasting room when he was on the Zoning Board of Appeals and, also while on ZBA, his work on the decision to allow the McDonald’s in Mattituck.

“I’d like to thank everybody … I truly appreciate it. It was the most enjoyable time of my life, doing the things that I did for the town,” he said. 

“Let me tell you something about Jim. He is absolutely 100% straightforward with his opinion. He doesn’t hide anything. He doesn’t say one thing when he means something else,” Town Supervisor Scott Russell said at a Town Board meeting Dec. 14.

He added that Mr. Ghosio “is the most nonpartisan person in the world. He’s always put this community first, he was always happy and willing to sit down with anybody in the community to talk about any issue.”

Michael Domino and John Bredemeyer will also be retiring from the Board of Trustees. Mr. Bergen, who worked with each of them as a Trustee, emphasized the useful skill sets each brought to the board. 

“[Mr. Bredemeyer] came out of a career with the county board of health so he was great in that he knew all the health department regulations like the back of his hand,” Mr. Bergen said. “He really helped us, which in turn helps the people of Southold.”

Mr. Domino, a retired science teacher, was able to quickly identify wetland species, Mr. Bergen added. “They really added a great additional dimension to the Trustees over the years,” he said. 

Greg Williams is also leaving his position with the Trustees, after an unsuccessful run for Town Board. 

“Your commitment to this community goes far beyond. People view Trustees as a part-time position. It’s not. It’s a full-time position, and you all put your absolute hardest work and gave these positions your all and the community should be very grateful for all of your efforts,” Mr. Russell said at the Town Board meeting.

Vincent Orlando, town highway superintendent, is also retiring. Mr. Bergen said he “tried to establish a prioritization process to the road paving that I thought was very good, was a common sense approach that he had.”

At the Dec. 14 Town Board meeting, Mr. Russell praised Mr. Orlando’s work on the Town Board before taking over as highway superintendent, and his ability to manage the responsibilities and stress that comes with the job. 

“It was always an honor to count on you, your demeanor was always joyful and pleasant,” he said. “You’ve always treated the public very well. And I think I can speak for the public when I say you have always been very respectful to them.”