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Messina taps Smolinsky for deputy supervisor

"There's always a potential for conflicts of interest between a Town Board member or someone like myself"deputy"and things that come before the boards," he said. "What the town code requires is for a person to recuse themselves if there's a conflict of interest."

"Town law does not require that people cannot be involved in other ways," said Messina. "I can't see how it's a conflict in any way, shape or form."

The post of deputy supervisor is unpaid, and Planning Board members receive a $5,264 annual salary.

Councilman Kyle Kotary, who handily won reelection in November, questioned Messina's decision, saying he had "struck out" by making the very type of appointment he had campaigned against.

Kotary labeled Smolinsky as Messina's "political crony" and suggested that his limited experience in town government would leave him ill prepared to fulfill the duties of deputy supervisor.

"He's not up to speed on complex financial, infrastructure and other issues," Kotary said. He also said Messina had not consulted the board on the appointment.

Messina had protested the appointment of former Town Board member Dan Plummer to the position of deputy supervisor by predecessor Jack Cunningham as political cronyism influenced by county politics, and had railed against it during last year's campaign. He said Smolisnky's appointment was nonpolitical.

"John is a career and community public servant, he is a professional in all regards," Messina said. "John has helped me on my campaign because he believes in where we need to move as a town, and that's to open government, to greater professionalism, to less partisanship."

Smolinky served as treasurer for Messina's campaigns for Town Board and supervisor.

"If someone wants to think of this as a political appointment, that's their choice," Smolinky said. "Sam has asked me to help him out, to help the Town Board out and to help the town out by taking this position, and I'm perfectly willing to try."

A job posting for the post of deputy supervisor was placed on the town's Web site in December. Messina said that Smolinky was the only person to submit a resume, though others did express interest.

The Town Board will now address several appointments at its Wednesday, Jan. 13, organizational meeting, including the appointment of one Planning Board and one Zoning Board of Appeals member. Messina said he would be meeting one-on-one with Town Board members in the coming days to discuss the agenda.

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