Jul 26, 2014

Romaine Sorry for Absence, But Pins Blame On Highway Department

Brookhaven supervisor apologizes to residents but says highway department does not report to him or the town board.

Romaine Sorry for Absence, But Pins Blame On Highway Department

Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine on Thursday apologized to Town residents for not being on Long Island during this past weekend’s blizzard, but was quick to note that the Town’s highway department — not him — is responsible for overseeing snow removal operations.  

"People elect their highway department superintendent, who reports directly to the people, not to the Town Board and not to the supervisor," Romaine said Thursday at Town Hall. "Nevertheless, it is part of Town government and it concerns me that they failed ... It rings hollow when I can only say how sorry I am that this branch of Town government failed us."

While Romaine said the Town Board was “forced to wrestle control of the situation away from the highway department,” he was quick to note that the response of the highway department was in no way a reflection of Town Board members or the supervisor.

Michael Murphy, Brookhaven’s interim highway superintendent, was out sick for four days during and after the snowstorm. He stepped down on Wednesday, ceding his responsibilities to John Capella.

Romaine said moving forward, he will work with Brookhaven’s future Highway Superintendent – who will be elected on March 5 – in conducting a thorough review of the department's response and inventory of the town's equipment. He also noted that a computerized tracking system is needed to update drivers in the field.

Dan Losquandro and Kathleen Walsh are running for the highway superintendent position, a race that up until now has garnered little attention.

Sara Walsh contributed to this report.

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