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Letter to the Editor from Councilman Mark Mayoka: Superintendent of Highways

Councilman Mark Mayoka

On July 24, 2012, Supervisor Petrone and Councilmembers Mark Cuthbertson and Susan Berland put forward legislation to eliminate the elected position of Superintendent of Highways.  Petrone, Cuthbertson and Berland want to make the position of Superintendent of Highways an appointed position.  By making the Superintendent of Highways an appointed position we the voters lose an independent advocate for the safety and improvement of our roads and drainage systems.

Supervisor Petrone and Councilmembers Cuthbertson and Berland have pushed for an early public hearing, which they have scheduled for August 14, 2012 at 7:00 P. M. at Town Hall.  While many residents may not be able to attend, we encourage everyone to write or e-mail your views on this major change to the structure of Town services.

State statute requires that all towns have a Superintendent of Highways whether elected or appointed.  The Superintendent of Highways is responsible for preparing an annual budget, the general maintenance of the Town’s highways, bridges, sidewalks, coverts and ditches.  The Superintendent of Highways is not separated by layers of bureaucracy to the men and women who actually perform the work.  The Superintendent of Highways is accountable directly to the voters of the Town of Huntington and not a majority political party in control of local government.

A cost savings analysis of all Town Departments is in order to promote efficiency and save tax dollars.  If the existence of an elected Highway Superintendent is shown to be cost prohibitive, let’s give the voters a voice in eliminating that position or not.  This can be accomplished by awaiting the determinations of the State Audit taking place right now.

A more thoughtful consideration of this matter should have preceded the introduction of the Local Law to abolish the elected office of Superintendent of Highways.

Please write, call or e-mail your comments to:

Huntington Town Hall

100 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743

Mark Mayoka – 631-351-3175

Gene Cook – 631-351-3174

We look forward to your comments on this important matter.


Councilman Mark Mayoka


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57 comments to Letter to the Editor from Councilman Mark Mayoka: Superintendent of Highways

  • chickadee

    this is just wrong. Leave the highway department the way it is!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Vote out Petron!

  • Huntington tax payer

    Leave things as they are so We have the Voice!

  • Touche`

    How about we eliminate Susan Berland???

  • Leave it Alone

    This proposal shows the arrogance of Democratic Supervisor and Board members. Mr. Norton runs a great Highway department,problem is he is not in lock step with Mr. Petrone he thinks on his own.
    So now they want to get rid of him because he will not be a puppet. there is no need to force the public to take sides in your little spat.
    We need new leadership in Huntington. the town is turning because of these egocentric bully’s.
    In the future the town will return to Republician
    leadership and they have no one to blame but themselves. An indication of the tide changing is that the Town Attorney is now running to become a judge he knows when to leave a ship that is taking on water. Susan Berland delusional
    she barely won her re-election and she thinks she can run for Supervisor. They are all shameful human beings.

  • Petroned

    This sounds more like Venezuela politics or any socialist/dictatorial/communist country type ruling. Taking away the people’s right to an election for an important town position because Bill Naughton refuses to lockstep with the 3 people who have helped to corrupt this town on all levels.

    Don’t let Petrone who has reigned as king for the last 20 years take away a big piece of democracy.



  • George

    I think we should do the same for there positions. Make them appointed. And it the public who will do the appointing

  • Disgusted +

    But if you read Mayoka’s letter carefully he is not saying lets not do this. He is saying a more thoughtful process. That is trying to stay in the middle to protect himself as he is up for re election next year. He has been on the Board three years with not much to show for it. So what is it Mark are you for or against this being an elected office?

  • My Town Too

    I think Mayoka’s point is that the whole process for this issue wasn’t done in a manner that gives the public the information it needs. Had the state audit been finished for example, we might be able to know if the highway dept is efficient or using the tax monies to our benefit.

    Is Petrone planning on cutting the pay for the position should it be appointed and not a dept on it’s own anymore? Is that his “threat” to Naughton as well as “you won’t have your job after your term runs out”?

    This whole issue just smacks of politics at its worst – and then they wonder why we don’t love them all in Town Hall!

  • Fed up

    It is there arrogance that is so offensive. Town council members should have term
    Limits. Cuthbertson has been hiding there for to long.
    Term limits should be a referendum in Novvember.
    Town supervisor too frank has to retire and also the Smithtown Supervisor Vechico
    He,s 80. Term limits and councilmatic districts

  • if it aint broke

    then don’t fix it

  • Gino

    An elected Highway Department superintendent is archaic. Many other towns have already transitioned to an appointed position. It’s more efficient and economical to have the posiiton and budget under the control of the elected chief executive of the town.

    • @Gino

      How can you say this on one end and yet respond previously with this statement?

      August 9, 2012 at 8:08 am · Reply

      @George: Actually thats the system we have now; it’s called an election.

  • @Gino aka hack

    says only people part of the corrupt or those looking for an appointed position.

  • haha!

    Petrone is archaic. Saying the same lines now for 2 decades. No one seems to have a problem with how Bill runs his department except those who are trying to get hands on more money to cover up prior corruption. Just buying time folks. Smoke n mirrors. Wait till after the audit results are in before you give these clowns another 30 million to waste.

  • Mike

    I never ever saw the Superintendent of the Highway Dept. at one town meeting.Time for a change,let the town appoint who ever they want.Get rid of Bill,we need new blood.Someone that shows up to town meetings once in a blue moon.

  • you got in wrong Mike

    If you don’t like Bill, don’t vote for him. Appointments are just favors and you will get a lazy yes person and nothing more while the contracted jobs go out to people who do favors for favors to get more contracts for the little companies they have.

    Look at Ken Christensen. Appointed to many things. Christensen Plumbing sound familiar?

  • Gino

    Eliminating the highway superinendant is just good progressive governnment that eliminates an unessary bureaucracy and patronage system and places control of the budget and management of the employees where it belongs..under the control of the town supervisor and board. I predict this legislation will easily be approved by the voters; that is why the opponents don’t want it on the ballot this year or any year.

  • Brookhaven

    A similar proposal was floated in Brookhaven in 2003 by then-Supervisor John Jay LaValle, but was ultimately rejected by 80 percent of residents.

    80 percent. Most people of average intelligence can see through this scam.

    • Gino

      @brookhaven: 40% of the states largest townships have already voted to eliminate an elected highway superintendent and Brookhaven is again considering the referendum this year. Not a scam; simply a way to streamline, improve efficiency and reduce the cost of government.

    • 56 years in this town

      You Mean “Crook Heaven” Yea we should really take a cue from them!!!!

  • Michael T.

    There’s a problem with “if you don’t like Naughton, don’t vote for him.”
    He has NEVER run opposed so he’s just handed the position each election year.
    That’s why he never attends meeting that are mandatory for him, doesn’t respond to the public and half-asses his job….he’s in no danger of losing it of it remains elected. Since he runs unopposed, moving it from elected to appointed is no real big change, since there is never a real election for the position anyway. The change will only effect Naughton, since he won’t be just handed a job.

  • Ohhhh I C

    It is NAUGHTONS fault that the OTHER political parties don’t run an opponent against him and instead choose to cross endorse which should be illegal like it is in other states?

    Makes perfect sense.

    • 56 years in this town

      If you have ever had the pleasure of meeting Naughton; one of the most arrogant abusers of an elected position. The maintenance only happens when the price is right. How many people in this town can honestly say our roads are beautiful. The budget is there, the even handed judgement is not.

  • kor

    I am not a fan of Mr. Naughton. I do not believe that eliminating the elected position of Highway Superintendent should be about his effectiveness. The issue should be our right to vote and separation of power. If this is passed what future board would ever bring this up for a referendum to reverse this. cronyism into perpetuity and no accountability will be the result. The highway department costs account for 4% +/- of our tax bill. If we cut costs by 1 million dollars it would equal 0.2% of our tax bill or $20.00 out of $10,000.00. I doubt we would save one tenth of that. I can’t see giving up my right to vote for someone in order to save $2.00 or $20.00 .

    • Gino

      I beleive the constituional issue of “separation of powers has to do with the branches of government (judicial, executive and legistlative), not the highway superintendants of the world (or any other department head for that matter). The elected position of highway superintendant should definitely be abolished and given that there has been little or no opponents for Mr. Naughton to run against, ie., essentially cross endorsement, at the very least the position cries out for term limits.

  • Lucy

    The reason why we have Bill Naughton every term. The men that work for the highway dept.have to vote for him.

  • Eshter?

    Has Mrs Bivona (Receiver of taxes, elected position)been to all the meetings? Perhaps we should eliminate her too. The only reason Mrs Raia is there is she has to read all the resolutions and enter into record.

    This is not about NAUGHTON. This is about a position you can or can no longer vote for. That is what you should focus on because Mr Naughton will not be there forever.

  • JPJ

    Yet another example of this self-serving majority party doing whatever they want with total disregard for the people of Huntington.

    • Gino

      Total desregard? What an overstatement! Let’s be reasonable here. They are proposing a referendum so the people will ultimately decide. That you disagree with the proposed referendum doesn’t translate to disregard for the public. I think the supervisor and town board are absolutely doing the right thing. The highway superintendant does not need to be elected and place the budget and hiring under the direct control of the elected supervisor and town board.

  • Philip Dalton

    This is about William Naughton. I will come and I will speak to make Superintendent of Highways an appointed position. Right now, this man is totally insulated from any scrutiny, and he is entirely irresponsible when it comes to constituent requests and complaints. I’ve had people in his office hang up on me because I asked if they’d approved a permit. If you want your right to vote, then SUPPORT THIS RESOLUTION. It PUTS IT ON THE BALLOT! What are you afraid of?

    • Jill Collyer

      If the highway dept office staff aren’t answering your questions THEY are the ones who should be held accountable! Do you think this practice will stop just because Petrone gets to appoint one of his favorites to the position?

      An appointee will be, if anything, less responsive to the taxpayer’s needs and concerns. They have nothing to worry about when election time comes around, because they will never again be on the ballot.

      This whole issue is about the people’s right to vote, our right to elect our local officials and our right to vote them out if they aren’t doing the job. I would suggest that the Republican Party get off it’s behind and put up a candidate for Supt of Highways, so we have a choice. Then those of you who are not happy with Mr. Naughton can choose otherwise.

  • kor

    I agree that it is time to replace Mr. Naughton. The reason he has not been replaced is that he has never had a strong candidate to run against. In recent elections he has been cross endorsed. The reason for that is he is a registered Democrat who supports the Republicans. He has been playing both sides of the political fence for years. In the coming election he will have opposition and the voters will have a chance to replace him with someone who knows what to do and cares about the people. I have heard many stories of dissatisfaction with Mr. Naughton from residents who have called for help only to be berated by him or one of his underlings. It is time to vote him out. Stealing peoples right to vote is not the way to do it.

  • Clyde

    I don’t see this as stealing anyone’s right to vote because it will end up on the ballot as a referendum. If we are to trust the people’s choice, let us choose. I think Naughton is awful, and I do believe this whole thing is about him. I support this initiative and admit that I like Petrone!

    • kor

      Hi Clyde
      I think that Petrone et al have done a good job. This is about being able to vote again in the future. We will be giving up our right to vote and entrusting our future to future town boards who will never return our right to vote for the Highway Superintendent again. This is a one way ticket. For the cost of a ride on the LI Railroad we will be giving up our right to vote. Lets vote out Naughton not ourselves.

  • EllynG

    I don’t care about Petrone, the town council, or this right to vote charade. I want William Naughton out of there. With the money he has behind him from the Chamber of Commerce, no one will unseat him. He sells tickets to a celebration of himself at $250 per ticket. Knowing how these things work, I’ll bet my arm he makes his staff buy the tickets. And he gives out awards at these thing – to the head of the Chamber of Commerce! This is a merry go round of money and corruption for a do-nothing. Don’t cloud the issue with rights and all that BS. As a conservative, I don’t want my money wasted, and that’s what this guy is good at.

    • My Town Too

      Then retaining your right to vote is exactly what you want EllynG!
      Do you want to put this in the hands of the supervisor, never again being able to “get rid” of an incompetent person?
      No matter who is in the office, the opposing party should put up an electable alternative for the community to choose if they so desire.

      Giving up your right to vote is simply WRONG!

      • wundaboy

        @My Town Too: I want the “right to vote” on the referendum. Not allowing me to do that is WRONG.

        • My Town Too

          I didn’t see the community complaining about this issue before! The board decided that we need to get rid of the position for economies that we aren’t informed of and that two certain board members can’t get the financials for a good decision!

          So, fine, go ahead and hold a referendum. The people will still vote to keep the Highway Supt position as elected. We don’t want to lose our right to vote for THAT, no matter who is in the seat. As someone else said, Naughton isn’t going to be there forever, and if our political parties were worth their salt, they’d put up responsible candidates for ALL elected positions in this town!

  • Petroned

    So now that Petrone and and his two cronies Cuthbertson and Berland might succeed in appointing instead of electing an government official will we see a move to have the county executive appoint town supervisors ? It just might be cost effective.

  • Wilkers

    If Mr Petrone or any member of the voting public has a better choice of candidate for Naughtons position, then they should encourage those candidates to submit their names in the forthcoming election. Isn’t that what Democracy is all about ? Relying on the decision of 3 members of a Town Board in a Township of 200,000 people is not a viable alternative.

    • Michael T.

      Wilkers – maybe you are ill-informed, you don’t know te referendum process or you just don’t care to learn how this works. Nobody is relying on the decision of the 3 town board members.

      All the board does is vote to add a referendum to the November ballot. If it passes the referendum gets added to the ballot and the VOTERS vote and make the decision to pass or not pass the referendum. The outcome in the end is 100% up to the voters in the TOH.

  • Wilkers

    You missed my point. I was not referring to the referendum, I was referring to the outcome of a referendum in which voters elected to make Superitendant of Highways an appointed position. Under the present constitution of the Town Board it seems to me that the appointment would probably be determined by three of the board members. Whether its three or all five, it’s still a bad idea.

  • kor

    The people who are in favor of this referendum because they believe it will rid us of Mr. Naughton are the people who don’t understand. This referendum could pass and Mr. Naughton could still be the appointee after his term expires. This does not guarantee anything except that we the people will never again be able to vote for the Superintendent of Highways and that 3 out of 5 members of the town board will control who has this job instead of the voters. There is no guarantee that it will save money now or 20 years from now. It is a home run for the people who control the town board while the voters will be shut out of the process. this is a bad idea unless you are one of the town board members.

  • Petroned

    Well it looks that supervisor Petrone has caved in to public pressure and will keep the position of superintendent of highways an elected position. Voters of all political stripes do not want to see democracy eroded in this fashion of appointing the position.Voters and those who favor elections won this round. Petrone was Petroned (he lost).

  • 56 years in this town


  • 56 years in this town

    I have been to many meetings, Mark Mayoka has consistently gotten his facts wrong. He only votes from a totally ideological impulse. Not in the concerns of the residents.

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