Romaine Out of Town During Blizzard

Town Board members say supervisor’s absence hindered Brookhaven cleanup from historic storm.

Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine has been out of town on vacation since Wednesday, his spokesman Jack Krieger confirmed to Patch.

His exact location is unknown. Also unknown is who Romaine, a Republican, has been communicating with during and after the storm. It is also not known whether Romaine attempted to return to Long Island prior to or after the storm, and if he was even able to do so.

Councilman Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld and Councilwoman Kathy Walsh both said they have not seen or heard from Romaine during the blizzard or afterwards - and say it is having an impact on cleanup across Brookhaven.

“It does have an impact when the leader of a township who has the authority to take command of all departments, and marshal all forces and resources is not at Town Hall,” said Fiore-Rosenfeld, a Democrat. “Clearly, his lack of presence at the helm is not helpful to our ability to respond to residents and their concerns about being snowed in and trapped in their homes.” 

The councilman on Sunday wrote a scathing letter to Romaine and acting Highway Superintendent Michael Murphy calling it a "a complete and systematic breakdown in the ability of the Town Highway Department to respond to this crisis." 

Walsh, who said she spent the weekend answering calls from residents at the Town's Emergency Operations Center, said many roads in her council district had not gotten a first pass from snowplows as of 4:30 p.m. Sunday, and she could not provide an answer as to why that was.

“Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a whole lot of information shared and I’m just as frustrated as residents,” Walsh said.

Councilman Daniel Panico, who was named deputy supervisor in January replacing Walsh, has been running the town in Romaine's absence.  

“Dan Panico has been very helpful," Fiore-Rosenfeld said. "He’s new on the job and is doing the best he can, but he’s not the supervisor or superintendent of highways,” 

Panico has not responded to multiple calls from Patch since Saturday afternoon. 

Murphy has reportedly been out on a medical leave of absence during the storm, according to Walsh. Like Panico, he is newly appointed to that position following the resignation of John Rouse in January.

This leaves Town Board members asking who is in control of the Highway Department during this crisis.  

“I want to praise the average highway worker, who in the last two to three days has in some cases only gotten two hours of sleep,” Fiore-Rosenfeld said. “If people in my neighborhood haven’t gotten their streets plowed, it’s not their fault. It’s the lack of leadership in Town.” 

H.LYNCH February 11, 2013 at 10:22 PM
All of us deserve vacation, but someone has to be in charge... and we pay high taxrs, so we should get our services. will we get a creidt on tax bill cause of services not rendered, or cause we lost wages cause we couldn;t get to work, Brookhaven wake up we are goin down hill,,, not just with this issue but all around..
H.LYNCH February 11, 2013 at 10:38 PM
we are told we are broke, our parks can not be repaired, we lose services, and such, but our tax dollars do pay for highway services,,
Archie Bunker February 11, 2013 at 10:53 PM
Here's food for thought - Wondering where the Brookhaven Supervisor was during this FAILURE ? He was on vacation with his wife. This PIG was just sworn in Nov 26, 2012. Yes just over two months on the job and he's on vacation? Who starts a job and goes on vacation in two months? But then again, this guy is a re-tread. He's been in politics forever - we keep electing the same people and expecting different results
Archie Bunker February 11, 2013 at 11:33 PM
This is the same Ed Romaine who would not shut up about how bad LIPA performed after Sandy. I guess the tables are turned. The roads in Brookhaven are an utter disgrace.
mike February 12, 2013 at 12:36 AM
there was a complete breakdown in the chain of comand.I think the highway superintendent was incompetent in his duties,by the way who is running highway,we need rouse back,he was a tough sob that knew the strenth of his people and gave proper direction
Al Lofaso February 12, 2013 at 12:38 AM
It would be nice if all the politicians would take a vacation. We need term limits for all of them. the locals, the county, the state and the white house.( one six year term then yer'out!
Bryce February 12, 2013 at 12:43 AM
here we go. Bill walsh is a thug union boss who bully's around his membership with threats and rewards his 10 clsest buddies with all the overtime. his son is a thief who stole a town truck full of town scrap metal and cashed it in at gershow auto on peconic avenu. he then abandoned the truck on the side of the road. bill walsh (union leader) and kathy walsh councilwoman covered it up with help from mark alessi and lesko. this should be enough to demand that they both step down from there positions!! also, after the smack on the wrist and probably a raise or extra overtime the walsh kid was caught on camera doing drugs on town time in a town bathroom.. once again.....the same coverup!! how is this woman even on a ballot up for election. I know its not good to attack families but the truth is the truth. we cannot afford this union thug and his wife to threaten employees and use retaliatory tactics against people who are not on there side. make sure you vote people..
Archie Bunker February 12, 2013 at 12:47 AM
"deserve a vacation" after starting a job for 2 months?
Archie Bunker February 12, 2013 at 12:49 AM
We do have term limits - it's called voting. And I'd bet the farm that Romaine was voted in by most because "they've heard of the name" He is a career politician. Should we expect different results sending the same ol' back each time?
Archie Bunker February 12, 2013 at 12:53 AM
Rouse?? he just kept filling and refilling potholes. That's really not fixing the roads
mike February 12, 2013 at 02:10 AM
bryce, if that is true,all these family ties should be brought to light with an investigation.counsilwoman-union boss,wayward son employed by the town.this does not sound good.i hope its not true
H.LYNCH February 12, 2013 at 12:46 PM
Morning all... Yes we need to vote out the ones who have been promising us forever and those who do not do the job, but sometimes no one is running against them, or there is an area in town in brookhaven who gets the workd, so they vote for them..This has been happening with my local part of Medford, More with parks dept. we have been promiesed for several years our fences would be replaced, they are rsuted and falling down not safe, our park will get some updates, the fields will get revampoed, the basketball court has cracks and the list goews on, this has been for yeras, we get a bandaid, I did not vote for my currnet councilperson but they won.,,,,we need to stand strong, and fight all this
Joseph LoSchiavo February 12, 2013 at 01:11 PM
Correct me if I am wrong, but hghway Super is elected. I know that there is and interim , so therefore, Mr. Romaine would have nothing to do with the conditions of the roads anyway. This is simply Not under his purview.
Charlie Chierchio February 12, 2013 at 01:11 PM
Bryce your an idiot. What does Bill and Kathy have to do with this storm. Your a coward by hiding behind a screen name and bashing people that have nothing to do with this storm. I know what your up to, trying to save Romaine by trashing a family. YOUR A COWARD!!!
Charlie Chierchio February 12, 2013 at 01:18 PM
You can't blame anyone for this storm. Blame Mother Nature, really what really could have Romaine done if he was here? Let's blame Bush or Obama for this blizzard, people need to chill out and stop pointing fingers at each other.
H.LYNCH February 12, 2013 at 01:34 PM
Yes it was Mother Nature, true ,true,true. But I believe residents are angry that streets in areas, are not plowed, the icy conditions are horrible, and the such. Some one in charge needs to help the areas that need help make all as safe as possible. People are losing pay , cars stuck in side streets, where are the kids to wait for the bus? Evin in the article, looks like blame is on leadership. Let;s all work together if possible help. but you don;t see that ,, i have seen many cars stuck in my area, my son was one, we got him out, then went to help another young lady, while others looked at us and gave us a look of fustration because someone was stuck, I was actually given the finger because I was going to slow .. well some will help some will not be safe all
mike February 12, 2013 at 01:37 PM
mr Loschiavo,to say the road conditions are not the problem of mr romaine is not true,brookhaven town is his juris,you would think with this storm,mr romaine would use his political mite to garner more resourses for his employ. the town highway dept but i could be wrong???
annette kattau February 12, 2013 at 01:53 PM
The man is entitled to a vacation. He left a very capable person in charge. This is about republican against democrates on the board seems to be now. The highway dept acting supt called in sick 4 days in a row there is a message here from the union.....go ahead and vote for kathleen walsh whos huband is the union leader this is a deliberate work mess at the highway dept level. What about the state roads they are just as bad everywhere!!!!
Archie Bunker February 12, 2013 at 03:03 PM
Let's talk reality, since some people need a check on that. In the "real world", is it reasonable to start a job (Nov 26) and go on a vacation in just over two months of being on that job? "You're hired!" "Thanks, just to let you know, I am taking vacation 60 days from now" Furthermore, it's only a two year term that bears responsibility and leadership. And when the leadership is most needed, you can't be there? Next time, don't run for a two year period if you feel you need a break.
Archie Bunker February 12, 2013 at 03:04 PM
He could have run the response effectively? I dunno. You know, a little leadership
Archie Bunker February 12, 2013 at 06:00 PM
Oh and you said this is about republicans against democrats. Its more like its the taxpayers being stranded and left in a dangerous potion despite paying some of the highest taxes in the country. And the man elected to ensure the town's safety was on holiday after being in his posotion for 2 months.
Mickey Visco February 12, 2013 at 11:56 PM
He deserves to be voted out...there is NO REASON to be gone during a possible major storm....yes people deserve vacations..but who forced him to take the job?


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something