UPDATE: 27-Year Employee to Replace Highway Department Head

Supervisor Ed Romaine will hold a press conference on Thursday, according to Newsday.

Update, 2:30 p.m.: Brookhaven Deputy Supervisor Dan Panico said he expects to receive the resignation of acting Highway Supervisor Michael Murphy on Wednesday. 

“[Murphy] initially reported that he had a toothache, which I found to be the height of ridiculousness. On News12, he stated he was ‘out of town’ for a family emergency,” Panico said. “It’s a moot point now.” 

John Capella, current deputy highway superintendent, will replace Murphy. Capella has 27 years experience serving in Brookhaven’s Highway Department.

Murphy will keep his job with the Town for now, as civil service laws outline strict procedures for personnel matters, according to the deputy supervisor. 

Panico said he trusts Capella to work with three other department heads to coordinate a response to the snow forecasted for Wednesday evening into Thursday: Ed Morris, Parks Commissioner; Matt Minor, Commissioner of Waste Management; and Anthony Gallino, Public Safety Commissioner.

Brookhaven will deploy Town crews with an additional 130 pieces of state-owned equipment to deal with the upcoming snowfall. 

“We brought in the necessary resources to clean up this time and had adequate preparations been made, we could have certainly shaved time off in cleaning up the roadways during the previous storm,” Panico said.

Any residents still having trouble getting out of their homes should contact the Town’s highway department at 631-451-9200.

Update written by Sara Walsh.

Original story: Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine,  dumped over two feet of snow in several parts of town while the town highway department struggled to keep up, is scheduled to return from vacation Wednesday and hold a news conference on Thursday while acting highway department head Michael Murphy plans to resign, according to Newsday.

Murphy – filling the shoes of former Highway Superintendent John Rouse, who resigned to run for Suffolk County Judge – was out on medical leave from Friday through Monday, according to the report. In his absence, residents complained of being snowed in more than three days after the storm hit Friday night.

While Deputy Supervisor Dan Panico told Newsday Murphy plans on resigning, town spokesman Jack Krieger said Wednesday morning he had yet to see a formal letter of resignation.

Pointing to the absence of both officials, Councilwoman Kathleen Walsh – who is running in a special election for the highway department position – noted on Tuesday that among an absence of leadership getting information out to residents was hard to come by.

  • Read: Highway Supe Candidates Reflect Following Blizzard

Her opponent, Dan Losquadro, stated that if the town highway department had an emergency management plan in place – something he said he would create if elected – snow removal would have been much smoother.

Click here to read the Newsday article (subscription required).

Moe Szyslak February 13, 2013 at 04:16 PM
This Kathleen Walsh that's running. Isn't her husband a union head of some kind and doesn't he also work for the town? I think if there is any chance there's a conflict of interest that she should remove herself from consideration or someone should block her from seeking the position. Please pass this along to remind voters.
lscholl February 13, 2013 at 04:19 PM
Murphy resigning is not enough! By Wednesday ,the weather people were predicting a blizzard for Suffolk County and predicting wide spread power outages. Mr. Romaine, after serving a grueling month in office, decided tanning in Jamaica comes before the safety and well being of the people who elected him. He knew there was no permanent, experienced Highway Superintendent, yet he decided: screw my responsibilities , I need a pina colada on the beach. Th result: his constituents paid the price for his trip to Jamaica. People missed work, doctors appointments, school and were unable to leave their homes for necessities. Countless accidents and injuries could have been avoided by a responsible response to the storm. If Mr. Romaine has any decency left, he will resign. The analogy to the captain of the Costa Concordia is spot on: this man is a coward.
Stuck in Stony Brook February 13, 2013 at 09:28 PM
So the guy who was supposed to be in charge but did not show up (Murphy) "resigns" to a position that pays him more. The guy who was actually in charge of this mess gets promoted. The whole thing reminds me of the '62 Mets. Rouse, Murphy, Capella. Who's up next, Marv Throneberry? Can't anybody here play this game?
lscholl February 13, 2013 at 11:58 PM
Exactly, Murphy and Capella are actually being rewarded for incompetence. Welcome to government in Brookhaven.
Bill February 14, 2013 at 05:56 PM
And people thought Crookhaven has changed, nothing has changed. They are all laughing all the way to the bank. Imagine what would happen to you if you screwed up this bad where you work. I am sure you could just say I resign this post and now start paying me more for doing less. Aren't there rules for these people for calling in sick? during an emergency? The only thing he did was fire the only person there with any experience at all. And Romaine, coming home from the beach, starts to point fingers. No excuse as to why he couldn't even make a few phone calls to kick anyone in the ass. NO! he just didn't care, he was on vacation enjoying himself after working for a month.


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