Councilman Tim Hubbard and Justice Lori Hulse are now officially in office following Friday’s inauguration ceremony, where the Riverhead Town officials elected in November were sworn into office.
Ms. Hulse, who is only the second female town justice in Riverhead, said she initially didn’t think it was a big deal.
But after being asked by Supervisor Sean Walter to make some comments at the ceremony, she said, “I gave it some thought and I realized that it is important, because it’s part of the history of Riverhead. It’s a piece of the unique fabric that makes Riverhead’s history what it is.”
The first female justice in Riverhead, Syrena Stackpole, was elected to a dual justice/councilperson position in 1931.
“But an interesting fact, she didn’t much care for the job, so after the first term, she went back to the private practice,” Ms. Hulse.
She contrasted that with newly retired Riverhead Justice Richard Ehlers, whom she replaces, and who served 28 years as town justice, and incumbent Justice Allen Smith, who has been a town justice for 15 years, and was a town supervisor in the 1970s.
She said Mr. Ehlers “will be a tough act to follow” and Mr. Smith “made my transmission as seamless as possible.”
Mr. Hubbard, a recently retired town police detective, was also elected to fill a seat in which the incumbent — in this case, Councilman George Gabrielsen — chose not to seek reelection.
Of the three Republicans elected to the Town Board in November, he was the only one that didn’t have to win a primary to get there, as both Mr. Walter and incumbent Councilman Jim Wooten did not receive the Republican committee’s nomination for reelection but managed to win.
Ms. Hulse also had to win a primary to get on the November ballot, as former Supervisor Bob Kozakiewicz had been the party designee for justice.
Other officials sworn in Friday were assessors Mason Haas and Paul Leszczynski, both Republicans, and Town Clerk Diane Wilhelm, the only Democrat sworn in at the New Year’s Day ceremony. Republican tax receiver Laurie Zaneski also was reelected in November but was not present Friday.
Mr. Walter, in a brief speech, complimented the town itself.
“This town is a collection of the most wonderful people that I’ve ever known,” he said, pointing out how residents have frequently come to the aid of others in need and how Riverhead residents don’t “tear Riverhead down,” like residents in other towns do.
“I grew up in Brookhaven and you hear over and over that this place stinks or is no good or is Crookhaven,” Mr. Walter said. “You never hear that about Riverhead, because it is a very proud town with folks that love it.”