Town appoints new councilman to District 4

Sam Desmond
Posted 1/19/23

At the Town of Islip special organizational meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 4, John M. Lorenzo, who had previously served on the chairman of the Town of Islip Zoning Board of Appeals, was appointed to …

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Town appoints new councilman to District 4

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At the Town of Islip special organizational meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 4, John M. Lorenzo, who had previously served on the chairman of the Town of Islip Zoning Board of Appeals, was appointed to councilman, District 4, replacing former councilwoman Mary Kate Mullen, who resigned from the position effective midnight, Dec. 31, 2022, to accept a judgeship with Suffolk County’s 5th District Court.

According to a representative of the town, “ [The] power to fill such vacancies by appointment temporarily, and until an election can be conducted, is an emergency power authorized because of the necessity for providing uninterrupted governmental service.”

Since the Council District 4 seat became vacant in the same year its term was expiring, the town asserts that “New York State Town Law gives the responsibility for filling that vacancy to the Town Board, citing Town Law, §64[5].”

Although Lorenzo did not respond to Islip Bulletin’s inquiries, the following statement from Lorenzo, provided by the town, was sent for publication: “I’m proud and honored to serve the constituents of CD 4. As a lifelong resident of Sayville, I am profoundly connected to this community, and am looking forward to working with all the residents, through collaboration and partnership, to ensure their concerns are heard, and that we continue taking steps forward as one town.”

According to supervisor Angie Carpenter, “He [Lorenzo] will certainly be an asset and represent his community well.”

Lorenzo was described by the town as a “business owner in Sayville.” (According to a public search, there is a John Lorenzo who owns a business titled South Shore Abstract in Sayville. The business is listed on Facebook as a real estate title and development company and said to have been established in 2004 on LinkedIn.)

Carpenter also said that Lorenzo is “deeply involved in his community,” citing his service as president of Inclusive Sports and Fitness in Holbrook and as a board member with The Neighborhood House in Sayville, a not-for-profit that provides support to individuals and families struggling in the aftermath of traumatic loss.

Thomas Murray, an attorney based in Sayville, learned of the appointment on Tuesday, Jan. 3, and filed a petition to stop the appointment. The petition was rendered moot after the appointment was made official on Jan. 4.

In a letter to the editor to Islip Bulletin that was printed in the Jan. 12 issue, Murray, who previously ran for Town of Islip supervisor in 2019, said, “There were no hearings for this position. There were no screenings. The public was not invited to participate.”

Following the appointment of Lorenzo, multiple calls were made to the Islip Bulletin inquiring about how the process was conducted to fill Mullen’s vacant seat.

The law in New York State town code being cited by the Town of Islip for the rightful appointment of Lorenzo is as follows: §64[5]. https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/TWN/64

“Whenever a vacancy shall occur or exist in any town office, the town board or a majority of the members thereof, may appoint a qualified person to fill the vacancy. If the appointment be made to fill a vacancy in an appointive office, the person so appointed shall hold office for the remainder of the unexpired term. If the appointment be made to fill a vacancy in an elective office, the person so appointed shall hold office until the commencement of the calendar year next succeeding the first annual election at which the vacancy may be filled.

A person, otherwise qualified, who is a member of the town board at the time the vacancy occurs may be appointed to fill the vacancy provided that he shall have resigned prior to such appointment.”