The Riverhead Town Board voted 3-2 this week to allow Highway Superintendent George Woodson to purchase a Chevy Tahoe priced at $35,554 to use as his work vehicle, instead of a Ford Explorer that Supervisor Sean Walter says would cost $9,000 less.
Mr. Woodson had argued that the Chevy requires less maintenance, but Mr. Walter said the Ford gets better mileage and has the same engine as the police vehicles the town is ordering.
Councilmembers Jodi Giglio, John Dunleavy and Jim Wooten supported Mr. Woodson.
“I don’t micromanage him. He’s an elected official,” Ms. Giglio said.
Mr. Dunleavy says Woodson has saved the town over $4 million by acquiring old equipment for far less money than what newer equipment would have cost.
Mr. Walter and Councilman George Gabrielsen opposed the Tahoe, citing its cost and mileage rate.
Mr. Woodson, a Democrat, has frequently been challenged on spending items by Mr. Walter, a Republican, though other members of the all-Republican Town Board have supported Mr. Woodson’s request.
By law, the Town Board sets the amount of money in the highway department budget, although the elected highway superintendent can decide how to spend it.