Following Blizzard, Highway Supe Candidates Reflect

Kathleen Walsh and Dan Losquadro are running for the town's highway post in less than a month.

Better communication. More resources. A formal emergency management plan.

These are a few thoughts offered by Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent candidates Dan Losquadro and Kathleen Walsh, who will be squaring off in a special election next month. Given the many issues Brookhaven had with snow removal during this past weekend's blizzard, this race could garner more interest from local residents than originally anticipated.

Many parts of Brookhaven Town remained snowed in more than 72 hours after a blizzard touched down last weekend,  forcing another civic to cancel a meeting with Losquadro and Walsh three days after the snow hit, and even prompting a small effort on Facebook to recall Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (despite the fact that New York State does not permit recall elections),  that brought more than two feet of snow in town.

In light of what one Democratic councilman called a "complete and systematic breakdown in the ability of the Town Highway Department to respond to this crisis," Losquadro, R-Shoreham, and Walsh, I-Centereach, shared their thoughts about what they can offer when voters head to the polls on March 5.

Pointing to not only Romaine's absence, but that of interim Highway Department head Michael Murphy, who reportedly took medical leave starting on Friday, Walsh noted that an absence of leadership has resulted in an information vacuum, leaving the public unaware of what the town is doing to help them.

"I believe most people understand that this snowfall is not something they have seen before, but the communication is not out there," she said. "Who is the lead advocate for the people? I know we have staff, but we need strong leadership. That's not happening if nobody is around."

Deputy Supervisor Dan Panico has filled Romaine's seat in his absence. He has not returned repeated calls from Patch seeking comment on the town's response to last weekend's blizzard.

Walsh pointed to her brief tenure as acting supervisor, after former Supervisor Mark Lesko resigned, when the town faced Superstorm Sandy: "We were having briefings with the town council and people in emergency services at least two or three times a day. We've had one briefing ... we're on the front line, getting calls and emails. And I don't have information to share with residents. That shouldn't be happening."

Losquadro has said that his interest in the highway department position started after Superstorm Sandy hit. He told Patch in December, "seeing the aftermath of the storm, a lot of people started to call me up, constituents, leaders of different parties, all indicating their support for me if I were to run for this position."

Speaking in more detail what he can bring to the department based on what he has seen between last weekend's snowfall, and last fall's crippling hurricane, he added that the town needs a concrete management plan it can turn to in times of emergency.

"If you try to do things in a reactionary sort of way, that doesn't work," he said. "We need an approved vendor list of outside contractors we can rely upon in extreme circumstances like this."

He said he was unsure what proportion of the town's snow removal resources were in-house, and what were contracted out, but establishing a list of contractors and fee schedules would put the town ahead of any crisis, he said.

A request to the town spokesman, asking what the highway department's current policy is in the case of an emergency, was not returned. Though Losquadro had touted formalizing an emergency plan before last weekend's blizzard touched down, as early as the beginning of 2013.

In order to make his plan work, he said, "this is something where my experience working on the legislative side of government would help, being proactive with the town board and supervisor."

He has even spoken about Romaine about such a plan in recent weeks, he added.

While both Walsh and Losquadro noted that the department could use more updated equipment, and more of it, the two disagreed on why the town doesn't currently have it.

Losquadro pointed to previous budgets Walsh has been a part of that cut highway department resources – the 2011 budget axed six jobs. But Walsh referenced the 2013 budget, where she and Democratic council members Connie Kepert and Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld were unable to find support for $6 million more in the highway budget – equaling roughly $38 more in taxes per household – that would have offered the department more resources.

Anthony Salamone February 12, 2013 at 10:28 PM
Romain must resign or every republican candidate should be voted out of office !!!!? B
crookhaven February 12, 2013 at 10:40 PM
walsh is from a drugged out family, lesko ran away, rouse had highway dept dealing drugs. this town will take a while to fix.
crookhaven February 12, 2013 at 10:41 PM
deport connie kepert!!!!!!
Mels Ditties February 12, 2013 at 10:44 PM
Vote for the write in Vet!
Captain Howard Hawrey February 12, 2013 at 10:53 PM
This race is now a hot topic due to the lack of leadership during the storm. Big opportunity by each of the three candidates to take advantage of the situation. The public wants to hear: 1. Honest critical statement of lack of transparency and leadership by highway supervisor and town supervisor during the storm regardless of party affiliation. 2. Support and thanks to the Town workers who put in long hours trying to get the work done with poor leadership. 3. Evaluation of what went wrong and how you will make sure it won't happen again. 4. How they intend to be held accountable for their leadership of the Highway dept. Anyone bold enough to come out and honestly answer these 4 points will have the backing of the people of Brookhaven I'm sure.
Mels Ditties February 12, 2013 at 10:54 PM
Vietnam Vet Pushing for Write-In Votes in Town Highway Super Race And there's at least one more person who's attempting to throw his name into the ring: Michael DePaoli, a Vietnam veteran and a former director of emergency preparedness for Suffolk County, who is hoping to collect enough write-in votes to secure a win in the race. Patch article: http://portjefferson.patch.com/articles/vietnam-vet-pushing-for-write-in-votes-in-town-highway-super-race
Had Enuf! February 12, 2013 at 11:16 PM
Michael DePaoli it is. Everyone write that name on your hand and go vote March 5 It is time to show these political goodfellas the door.
Paul Kersey February 13, 2013 at 12:39 AM
When the Civics have their rescheduled "meet the candidates" night, they should invite all three -- Losquadro, Walsh and DePaoli.
Captain Howard Hawrey February 13, 2013 at 01:21 AM
Agreed! That's exactly why I mentioned 3 candidates in my previous post. If DePaoli wants the job now is the time for him to step up his campaign for it!
Paul Kersey February 13, 2013 at 02:26 AM
Sadly, the simple fact is that the standards for qualification to elected office are low, and getting lower. The community organizer as CiC is evidence that we have hit bottom and continue to dig. The write in guy is simply not going to get it -- one of the anointed hacks will.
Lawrence C February 13, 2013 at 10:40 AM
Murphy must go.......another question about Ed Romaine, who gets vacation after just starting a new job? Ed is a decent guy however he will have to "man up" and take responsibility and admit his mistake. He can blame Murphy but he owns the problem!
Brian Gavan February 13, 2013 at 01:06 PM
Heed my advice look at the qualifications of the candidates . In the above article Losquadro and Walsh stated the obvious ( THE IDIOT SOUND BITE STATEMENT) , but why are they QUALIFIED to do the job ? This fella DePaoli sounds like a possibility has he come out and stated that he wants the job, and why he's QUALIFIED ( I'm half way convinced just because he is a survivor of the Viet Nam war and Thank You sir for your service ) Also realize that taxes are going to go up an evil necessity. So Mr. DePaoli make it official tell us about youself and your desire to take this thankless job. I suspect that by next week the outrage and anger will fade and the big concern will be "is the mall open" ? And nobody will look into the candidates and half the people will not vote. Hey 3 Village we have a large enough population to make a difference get up get out and vote and vote for the best person forget about party lines.
lscholl February 13, 2013 at 01:11 PM
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. I believe Mr. Murphy should resign as well.
RockyPointDiver February 13, 2013 at 03:58 PM
How does Walsh's candidacy even pass the "Giggle Test" when her hubby is president of one of the county's major unions and neogotiates contracts with the town, and her son got canned from his TOB sanitation job after a drug arrest... which I seem to recall some TOB Highway Dept. workers getting busted for selling. "Walsh pointed to her brief tenure as acting supervisor" Brief? I'll say. What was it, like 2 whole months?
RockyPointDiver February 13, 2013 at 08:30 PM
Reading some of the comments people have posted on these articles, it seems like Jane and her office got more accomplished for her constituents than many of the so-called "public servants" that were actually here. In fact Ted, it seems the only negative comments about her that I've seen in these storm articles are yours... we get it, you don't like her. Despite your claim that you "don't want to make this a bash bonner moment" it's very clear that that's EXACTLY what you want to do.
klebens February 13, 2013 at 09:16 PM
Higher taxes? We should be getting a REBATE. Lets organize!
RockyPointDiver February 13, 2013 at 10:21 PM
I didn't say everything was fine and dandy, and yes the Highway Dept did a lousy job on the streets in her district too. But I saw a number of posts from people that said they got responses from Jane and her office and even some results on their streets. So apparently situations got relayed from her constituents to the people who were supposed to be in charge of doing something about them - which is basically what her job is in this kind of situation after all. I don't recall seeing anybody post the same about their representatives, regardless of whether they were here or not - so yes, in my mind she accomplished something more than they did. Short of driving a plow herself, I'm not sure what more you'd expect her to do. For all the face time Dan Panico spent in the news bitching about the situation, what did he actually accomplish? As for the plow drivers, they don't report to her so whatever "someone" was telling them to do, or not do, has nothing to do with her. I'd stop and think real hard about who might have a vested interest in making the Highway Dept. look bad and might have some (union) connections to make that happen.
RockyPointDiver February 13, 2013 at 10:34 PM
And it occurs to me Fifty Three, looking at your posting history, that you haven't had ANYTHING to say here on Patch since the Beach Fees issue, where you also took great pains to bash the Councilwoman. The actual posts have been deleted from the articles, but their headings still show up in your profile so you can't deny them. Apparently another one that's either a malcontent with tunnel vision, or someone with an agenda.
Stephanie Mitchell February 13, 2013 at 11:23 PM
Don't underestimate Ed Romaine as he prepares his smoke and mirror attacks to justify what we all just went through. Please take time to watch this press conference he is scheduling for tomorrow and read between the lines. Remember, he gave no communication for days when all were in need. He was talking to 'his people' well I thought that was us, or News 12 or PATCH so we could be informed. He couldn't talk to the Board because 'his' people were on vacation too. He couldn't talk to the HWYs Superintendent. because he was out of town too. Just Independent Candidate Kathy Walsh and Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld and Connie Kepert were there. And now, Hwys. Superintendent Murphy takes the sword for Romaine and steps down. What will be next? Who else will he blame and implicate?Interesting. Only tomorrow knows.
Stephanie Mitchell February 13, 2013 at 11:34 PM
News 12 just reported that Ed Romaine intends to land at the airport and then address the press. This will be interesting. I am wondering whast folks that he has to blame. Murphy + some. This will truly be interesting.
Mels Ditties February 14, 2013 at 12:05 AM
How amusing would it be in Ed couldn't get home because his street hadn't been plowed!!!!
RockyPointDiver February 14, 2013 at 12:37 AM
Stalking? No, sorry you must have me confused with someone else. My experience has been that the people that accuse others of multiple names usually have a few themselves. No stalking needed, just one click on your name to link to your posting profile.
Annie Gurl February 14, 2013 at 12:56 AM
I hope Channel 12 is there with a camera crew to document that Mels.
crookhaven February 14, 2013 at 04:48 AM
walsh is the pits...........dump her
Engineer February 14, 2013 at 02:10 PM
Walsh is competing with John Boehner for the worst fake tan. Oompa loompa doopity doo!
crookhaven February 16, 2013 at 08:23 AM
john rouse hired this idiot murphy to replace him. there's the problem! drunken john rouse!


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