Snow Removal Remains Hot Topic In Highway Supt. Race

Candidates offer thoughts on how to improve Highway Department, but differ on how to pay for new initiatives.

As the Brookhaven Highway Superintendent race enters its final days, much of the discussion between the two candidates running in the March 5 special election continues to revolve around the town’s poor response to the February blizzard. 

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On Wednesday, Republican Dan Losquardro and Democrat Kathy Walsh met again to share their thoughts on the future of the Highway Department during a candidates’ forum held at the Medford Fire Department.

With the unplowed streets that stranded many across Brookhaven for days following the Feb. 8 snow storm still fresh in the minds of residents, the candidates reiterated who each felt was at fault for the poor snow removal efforts and what they would do to fix problems within the Highway Department.

Walsh and Losquadro each blamed the absence of an elected Highway Superintendent for the town's breakdown after the blizzard, saying it led to a lack of leadership. 

"The blizzard happened during the one eight-week window when we didn't have an elected head of the Highway Department," Losquadro said. "That being said, any business model should be able to operate in the absence of one individual." 

Former Highway Superintendent John Rouse resigned in mid-January to run for a county judgeship and appointed Michael Murphy as acting superintendent. Murphy, who did not show for work during the blizzard because of an illness, resigned from the acting superintendent position but remains employed within the Highway Department. 

To avoid future struggles in snow removal and possible leadership holes, the candidates agreed that the Highway Department needs to develop a disaster emergency response plan. 

Residents at Wednesday meeting also questioned whether town taxes would rise given the recent steps the town council took to improve the Highway Department. Among the changes approved was a rise in hourly rates paid to outside contractors for snow removal.

Losquadro said he could not estimate a budget before an audit, but promised he would fight for any budgetary increase he proposed to be offset by cuts or reductions to other programs. 

"I do not feel the town board needs to raise taxes," Losquadro said. 

Walsh, a sitting town board member, said she would like to make the same promise but could not given the town's current fiscal challenges.

"If we want to continue the services we have, we need to figure out where to get the money," she said. 

Walsh instead suggested promoting the existing adopt-a-highway program and creating an adopt-a-sump program to help cut town costs through public and private partnerships. 

Scott Schaller March 01, 2013 at 01:44 PM
I am disappointed that the patch failed to report the uproar from the conservative society for action (over 5,000 members) and Long Island firearms (over 8,000) of Dan Losquadro broken campaign promise to protect the constitution. Despite the many protests.
Scott c March 02, 2013 at 05:57 AM
not a campaign person for Dan or even a friend, but have attended debates between Dan and Kathy Walsh and believe he is the right person for the job.. just as the two comments before me believe that Walsh's decision to vote against aid for sandy victims was a wrong one, which it was, and how she has polluted my mailbox with wasteful mail also. Here are a few links to learn about Dan Lasquandro, what he has been involved in, & what seems to qualify him to lead the highway to better days. (http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Dan-Losquadro/bio/) As far as the ongoing use & sale of drugs in the hwy dept you are claiming was started by Powell, and flourished by John Rouse (who by the way I feel did an excellent job while at highway) and congratulate him on his judgeship.. I ask you, if those accusations towards those men & the highway department are true, what has Kathy Walsh who has served as a councilwomen for seven years, and comes from a family that works in different departments of the town according to her for years, done to resolve that issue. Leadership in a corrupt union/political environment?? isnt Mr Walsh union president for the town???
Patchogue Snoop March 02, 2013 at 12:53 PM
Both are unqualified for the position. Just career politicians. As usual from both parties here in Crookhaven. Rouse did nothing at all for the taxpayer. Filthy pothole ridden roads, old equipment and of course the drug scandel.
Bill March 02, 2013 at 02:51 PM
I would be a little worried about a conflict of interests between Kathy Walsh and her union leader husband.
Scott c March 02, 2013 at 03:13 PM
Exactly! And not mention family members working within the town. Scroll down on this link from three village patch and read a comment placed by "Bryce" ... Pretty much gives a little insight on the "scandals" that are really going on in the town http://threevillage.patch.com/articles/walsh-abandons-gop-will-face-losquadro-in-highway-super-race


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