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Vietnam Vet Pushing for Write-In Votes in Town Highway Super Race

Michael DePaoli says it's an uphill battle.

Current New York State Assemb. Dan Losquadro, R-Shoreham, is running on the Republican ticket for the vacant post of highway superintendent in the Town of Brookhaven. Current Councilwoman Kathy Walsh is running as an Independent who has been endorsed by the Democratic party.

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.

In a recent interview with Patch, DePaoli said while seeking write-in votes is an uphill battle, he believes it's important to give the voters a choice beyond the traditional political parties. He said he was dissatisfied when the town's most recent highway superintendent, John Rouse, ran unopposed in the 2011 election cycle.

"I want to make sure the people know they have someone they can trust in the town government," he said.

DePaoli, a Lake Grove resident, has Master's degrees in human resources and in social sciences and education from Stony Brook University. He said he served as director of emergency preparedness for Suffolk County approximately between 1989 and 1991, and also said he has a teaching certificate in social studies and business education. In 2008, he was endorsed by the Democratic party to run against John Flanagan for the State Senate's 2nd District seat, and has previously attempted running for various political offices in Brookhaven and in Suffolk as a write-in candidate.

If elected, DePaoli said he would call for an independent audit of the highway department; institute emergency preparedness protocols; serve as a watchdog when it comes to employee efficiency and business with contractors; and better manage all town highway resources and maintenance.

If either Losquadro or Walsh wins on March 5, yet another special election would follow – what would be the third special election in the last several months, after Ed Romaine was elected to the post of supervisor in November and residents in the eastern-most areas of Brookhaven elected Al Krupski as a county legislator to replace Romaine on Jan. 15. A win for DePaoli would eliminate the need for another special election.

The vacancy was created when Rouse was voted in as a Suffolk County judge in November of 2012. Romaine set the special election for March 5 in accordance with a town law requiring a minimum of 60 days to a maximum of 90 days for a special election following a vacancy in office.

Marc Alessi, chairman of the Brookhaven Democratic Committee, said DePaoli had reached out to the party for consideration as a candidate but that the committee had already finished the screening process and announced Walsh as its endorsement.

When asked for comment, Jesse Garcia, chairman of the Brookhaven GOP, said: "The only thing we control is the message to our voters, and I feel very confident that with Dan Losquadro we have a transparent, efficient plan to bring the Brookhaven Highway Department into the future."

The winner of the highway superintendent race will serve the remaining year of Rouse's two-year term that began in January of 2012, meaning the seat will be up for grabs again in November.

Town of Brookhaven officials could not immediately confirm whether a write-in candidate has successfully won an election.

Fifty Three Yr. Resident January 17, 2013 at 08:58 PM
Good for Michael DePaoli.
Earl January 17, 2013 at 09:20 PM
Hope he gets it. In all honestly, no one could be as bad as Rouse was! That whole department in general is a freakin joke. Someone that works there that lives nearby seems to get their road repaved every year. Nice waste of our tax dollars!
crookhaven January 20, 2013 at 06:51 AM
yes but if walsh gets it we can continue the drug dealing! ;)
crookhaven January 20, 2013 at 06:51 AM
walsh is a criminal!!!
Tom Calabrese January 31, 2013 at 12:46 AM
I was hoping an independent would run. He gets my vote. We don't need a career politician in that job handing out patronage jobs.
gee geem February 03, 2013 at 10:39 PM
we need new people, not good ole town cronnies.
Jon Versheck February 22, 2013 at 01:45 PM
I am curious, has anyone been to any of the local debates? Has anyone asked the candidates, "What are your qualifications for the position at hand? Then if they start answering by stating, "I have...." Questioned again, that is not what was asked. Please answer. What are your qualifications? Any Highway Dept experience? Engineering degrees? Do you have a CDL license? Have you ever driven a truck? Are you familiar at all, realistically with any Highway Dept operations? I am sure I am not the only one to wonder these things...... Jon at brookhavensuper.com
Lee February 22, 2013 at 06:03 PM
Yes and they have no qualifications. They don't know the difference between cement and concrete. Does that tell you anything?
Jon Versheck February 24, 2013 at 05:45 AM
The job description for a highway general supervisor is straightforward and to the point. A general supervisor oversees a number of crews responsible for reconstructing, resurfacing or doing general maintenance work on town highways. In order to fill this post, one must have earned a high school diploma or its equivalent and served at least three years as a highway maintenance supervisor. Do any of these candidates meet these criteria?
Jon Versheck March 05, 2013 at 03:21 PM
Just wanted to drop you a line: Good luck today out there Michael. One thing I can say for sure is, good, qualified people need to start filling the positions in local government around here. We ALL need to send a message. We all have to persevere and fight. Once again, best wishes, good luck to you, and all those trying to make a difference. You have more of my support, and my respect, than any of the career politicians out there. All of us need to do the right thing. Thank you, -Jon Versheck

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