Scott Russell will be back to work Monday and people on both sides of the local political community say they’re looking forward to welcoming him back.
The supervisor, who took a leave of absence after police responded to what the department described as a “domestic disturbance” at his Cutchogue home on April 28, said in a statement released Wednesday morning that he’ll return to Town Hall on May 16 “stronger and with a new sense of vigor.”
Mr. Russell also said he wants to clarify “the misconceptions and reports that resulted in my absence.”
He said police came to his home in response to a 911 call “as a result of my poor health. The fact is that for some time now I have allowed myself to become physically and mentally fatigued.”
He added that his wife, Nuria, spotted the warning signs but he did not.
“I got progressively worse and that one day it was clear to my wife that I needed medical attention so she called 911 for help,” the supervisor said.
It was, the supervisor said, “a wake-up call and a blessing.”
Mr. Russell turned over his town responsibilities to deputy supervisor Phillip Beltz, who ran Tuesday’s Town Board meeting.
Addressing his home life, the supervisor expressed “gratitude and deep devotion to my wife, Nuria, and my children, Lily and Carson … We want to assure everyone that our relationship is strong.
“These past two weeks have allowed us to focus on each other and our family, and reminded us of the blessings we have,” he added.
Once back in his office, the supervisor said he’ll carry “an equally important renewed sense of balance in all aspects of my life.”
Councilman Vincent Orlando said that’s good news.
“I’m glad he’s coming back,” Mr. Orlando said. “He’s a great supervisor and he’s doing a great job.”
In his letter, Mr. Russell makes no mention of the upcoming election or his bid for another four-year term. Despite his absence, the town Republican Party still expected Mr. Russell to remain on the ticket in the fall.
“I’ve always been confident that he’s our guy,” said town GOP chairman Denis Noncarrow. “It would be hard to find someone else with the knowledge and dedication he brings to the town.”
Town Democratic chairman Art Tillman said he’s also pleased to see the supervisor return.
“I’m happy that, as he reports, all is well with his family,” he said.
Mr. Tillman said he has yet to find a candidate to take on the supervisor.
“One faction of the party wants to cross-endorse him, but the GOP won’t permit that so they suggest leaving the line vacant,” the chairman said. “There’s another faction that thinks it’s our obligation to run someone against him. We have to sort this out.”
Mr. Tillman said the supervisor’s lack of comment on his political plans complicates the Democrats’ attempts to fashion a ticket.
Mr. Russell is considered quite popular and beat his last opponent with better than 80 percent of the vote.
“We’d like to know so that we can plan accordingly,” Mr. Tillman said.
The Town Board’s lone Democrat, Councilman Al Krupski, has long been a Russell ally.