The race to fill Brookhaven’s vacant Highway Superintendent position was largely off the radar for many Town residents.
But the litany of complaints from those living in Brookhaven regarding the Town’s response to the recent blizzard has put the special election in the forefront for many.
At a Monday debate at the Longwood Public Library, Kathy Walsh and Dan Losquadro offered their thoughts on how to improve Brookhaven’s snow removal operations. Walsh, a current councilwoman is running as a Democrat, and Losquadro, a Republican, current serves in the New York State Assembly.
The special election will be held March 5.
According to Newsday, Walsh said she feels it is clear that the Town’s Highway Department needs more resources to properly cleanup after a storm.
Losquadro said that the Highway Department needs to be "higher on the priority list" and receive more funding from Brookhaven. If elected, he said he would make sure outside contractors come to the aid of Brookhaven first.
Following the blizzard that dumped more than 30-inches of snow on parts of Brookhaven, Supervisor Ed Romaine — who was on vacation — apologized for the poor snow removal effort, but was quick to note that the Highway Department does not report to him or the Town Board.
Romaine and other Town officials said the department was ill-equipped to handle a storm of this size, citing issues with planning, poor use of outside contractors and aging equipment as some of the bigger problems.
At Monday’s debate, Thomas Gilbert, a highway general foreman, told Newsday that a major issue has been budget cuts in recent years, which have delayed the purchase of new equipment.