Piaquadio vows to ‘do more with less’
Town of Newburgh Deputy Supervisor Gilbert Piaquadio, saying he feels “the supervisor position should be elected by the residents of this town, not appointed by the Town Board,” will continue to serve as deputy supervisor until Wayne Booth’s successor is elected in November.
As deputy supervisor, Piaquadio’s pay will increase to $79,270 – equivalent to what Booth was paid in 2013. Booth has announced that he is stepping down as supervisor on March 1 to become deputy Orange County executive.
“I am sure my critics will say, ‘Piaquadio is doing this to save his councilman term,’” the acting supervisor said Monday night. “My input on the local law has been that I do not want the supervisor’s 2014 salary, but chose the 2013 salary [and] I also requested the senior councilman [George Woolsey] to assist me.”
Woolsey, who previously served as deputy supervisor, will get a $3,894 annual bump in pay although he will retain his title of “councilman.”
“By having four members on this board, we are doing more with less,” Piaquadio told the Town Hall audience Monday night. “This is the same burden we have placed on all our Town departments.”
He said he would listen to all who commented at Monday’s public hearing and promised to ask the Town Board to appoint him as town supervisor “only when it is in the best interest of the town.”
Piaquadio said he has taken a leave of absence from his part-time position with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and, after consulting with his brother, wife, sister-in-law, two sons and a nephew, will turn over the family business to them.
“They’re all in agreement: the business can run without me.”
“I will use all my knowledge and experience and with the help of this board and town clerk and all town department heads and employees, I will function as supervisor to the best of my ability, no matter what my title,” he said.
The official vote on the resolution to increase Piaquadio’s salary passed 3-0 with Piaquadio abstaining.
During the public hearing, only one resident, Donette Smith, of Rockwood Drive, expressed concern about the salary changes. But she appeared confused on several counts – first that Piaquadio’s pay was going from $3,894 to $79,270 and second, that the board was voting increases for all on the board.
The salaries of each of the council members is $16,749 with the deputy supervisor receiving an extra $3,894. Piaquadio will thus receive a raise from his present salary of $20,643 to the 2013 pay of Supervisor Booth — $79,270. Only Woolsey’s pay will increase to $20,643 since he will be serving as the senior council member in the absence of the deputy supervisor. Legally, there cannot be two deputy supervisors.
In the event that “a percentage” of town voters object to Monday night’s action pertaining to the salary of the deputy supervisor, a referendum could be forced to overturn that action, attorney Mark Taylor explained. Sufficient signatures would have to be collected within 45 days to order the referendum, he said. Taylor did not say what the required percentage would be.
Piaquadio gave no indication of whether he will run for the supervisor’s seat in November. If he does run and is elected, his seat as councilman could be filled by appointment until an election is held for the vacant seat. But if he runs for supervisor and loses, he would be able to keep the council seat for the rest of his 4-year term.
By ALLAN GAUL