Should Police Chief oversee town garage? Highway Superintendent says no

Riverhead Highway Superintendent George Woodson voiced his opposition last Thursday to a proposal to take oversight of the town’s municipal garage away from him and give it to the police department.

Mr. Woodson took over that position last year and received a $20,000 stipend on top of his highway superintendent salary of $94,803.

But board members Tim Hubbard and Jim Wooten said they have concerns with putting an elected official in charge of another department. Mr. Hubbard said the police chief has offered to do the job for no additional fee, saving $20,000.

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said she thinks the $20,000 can be used to give raises to elected officials other than Town Board members who haven’t had raises in a while, including Mr. Woodson.

But Mr. Woodson said he can save the town up to $700 per car by using a computer program for detailing cars. He said he has also cleaned the gas pumps, organized the municipal garage and gotten 60 cars removed from the town impound yard, among other things.

The discussion broke down along party lines with Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith and Councilwoman Catherine Kent, both Democrats, backing Mr. Woodson for the municipal garage job, while Republicans Mr. Wooten, Mr. Hubbard and Ms. Giglio supported giving it to the police.

Mr. Jens-Smith said the police chief’s plate is full, but Ms. Giglio said the same could be said of Mr. Woodson. Mr. Hubbard said the chief wouldn’t actually run the garage himself, he would have a subordinate do so.

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Photo caption: Riverhead Highway Superintendent George Woodson went before the Riverhead Town Board last Thursday. (Tim Gannon photo)