SCVOA News                                      February 2013

Suffolk County Village Officials Association 





As we begin 2013, SCVOA is well positioned to advance several initiatives that have been in the works for some time.  This year we will introduce a new SCVOA website that is only a small part of a groundbreaking technology platform that SCVOA has embraced for the benefit of all member villages. This website will become a repository of information that will be shared among all 33 Suffolk County villages.  The new platform will also incorporate a state-of-the- art communications system with unprecedented capabilities that will allow mayors to communicate with residents and village officials in real time or via messaging. 


In addition to the progress being made on the technology front, it is SCVOA's intention to continue our expanding outreach efforts by hosting focus groups and workshops around the county as we have done for the last two years. 


For personal reasons, I have decided not to seek re-election as Mayor of Amityville after 16 years of service. This will preclude me from serving as SCVOA President, as our by-laws call for active office in order to serve. The Executive Board has ambitious plans for SCVOA's future. My successor, Babylon Mayor Ralph Scordino, is set to assume my responsibilities and I have no doubt that, under his leadership, SCVOA will fulfill its mission even further as the leading advocate and information resource for the villages of Suffolk County.


It has been my honor to serve you and the SCVOA organization.  Our Executive Director, Paul Tonna, and our Project Manager, Debby Young, have taken us to a new level and I am eternally grateful for their commitment to propel SCVOA to become the "go to" resource for all our member villages.


Sincerely yours,

Peter T. Imbert


Suffolk County Village Officials Association


Peter A. Bee, Esq.

Many village officials continue to stumble over their understanding of civil service classifications and terminology, and a quick reminder of some basics 

might help.   


The NYS Constitution requires that all appointments and promotions, at every level of government, be made by written competitive examination.  Absent further exemption, this language would cover virtually every job in government. However, the Constitution sensibly provides that it applies only "as far as practicable," and it is left to the State legislature, usually acting through the State's civil service
commission (which, in turn, generally acts through local county civil service agencies) to determine which jobs are--or aren't--"practicable" to test by written competitive exam.

From this constitutional mandate, the civil service has developed two broad classifications:  the "unclassified" service, and the "classified" service.  Elected officials (e.g., Mayors & Trustees) are in the "unclassified" service because it has been deemed "impracticable" (for better or for worse!) to test them for their job competency by

competitive written exam.  Within the "classified" service, employees are broken down into one of four categories: exempt, non-competitive, labor, and competitive. 

The "exempt" class is generally for appointed department heads and other non-elected policy-makers, who may be selected for the personal judgment which the village believes is being brought to the job. 


The "non-competitive" class is used for a variety of full-time positions not readily "test-able" by a written competitive exam. Local civil service agencies have some flexibility to classify positions, and the wording used in the request by a village to create the job (a "CS-4") is often determinative. The "non-competitive" class also includes most part-timers. This also explains why, when a part-time position is classified non-competitive but its full-time equivalent is classified "competitive," civil service usually requires that the part-timer be limited to 20 hours per week.  The part-timer did not take the written competitive exam required for the full-time position, and using the part-timer more than 20 hours per week would be filling the full-time job with someone who wasn't "competitive."  In any case, "non-competitive" positions can be filled by a village by hiring virtually anyone who meets the minimum educational and experiential qualifications necessary to do the job.    


"Labor" class should be self-evident, and is designed primarily for manual laborers whose skills cannot be reasonably tested in a written competitive exam. 


If a job doesn't fit into one of the foregoing categories, however, it is covered by the State constitutional mandate and classified "competitive," meaning the job can only be filled by written competitive exam. (Of course, if a test has not been given for the position, it can be filled by a "provisional" appointment under certain circumstances.)

This brings us to the "rule of three," meaning that for "competitive" jobs being filled from a civil service list, the village may select ONLY from amongst the top three qualified scorers who are ready, willing and able to take the job.  Thus, if a person scored #5, but persons scoring #3 and #4 decline the job, candidates #1, #2 and #5 become the "top three," any one of whom may be chosen.


As always, refer questions to your village attorney (who likely has a good working relationship with the Suffolk civil service agency)!


Spotlight on...PATCHOGUE  Patchogue Harbor

"Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community."  This message is prominently displayed on the Village of Patchogue's website, reflecting the attitude and atmosphere of this vibrant and diverse South Shore community. Long considered the anchor of Long Island's South Shore, Patchogue is located on the scenic Great South Bay, approximately 50 miles from Manhattan and 60 miles from Montauk Point.  First incorporated in 1893, the village is named after the Native American Patchogue tribe, which once inhabited the area. From the 75 or so residents living in the village in the early1800s, this dynamic community has grown to more than 13,000 residents. The adjoining hamlets of North Patchogue, Canaan Lake, and some areas on Fire Island share the Patchogue mailing address with residents of the village


The village's beautiful riverfront and harbor have attracted residents and visitors for the past 100 years, and is now home to private yachts, small craft, and commercial vessels.  The Fire Island National Seashore is headquartered in Patchogue, where ferry service is provided to Watch Hill and Davis Park. 


Patchogue enjoys an active and productive Chamber of Commerce. Three major service clubs, Kiwanis, Lions, and Rotary, as well other fraternal organizations, veterans' groups, and charities are a vital part of life in Patchogue. The village's extensive shopping district provides the perfect mix of retail stores, restaurants, banking facilities, and professional offices that represent a variety of industries and services. 


Patchogue's comprehensive recreation facilities and programs include a municipal pool; tennis courts; baseball, basketball, and volleyball leagues; special summer and senior programs; and a large park on the shorefront that is a popular destination for people of all ages.  St. Joseph's College and Briarcliff College add to the broad range of resources available in this bustling village, as does Brookhaven Memorial Hospital, which provides the area with first-rate medical services.


Patchogue is very proud of its rich past. The village's Greater Patchogue Historical Society is committed to "the discovery, preservation and dissemination of knowledge about the history of Long Island, particularly the Greater Patchogue area...and the preservation and posterity of places, buildings, landmarks and objects of historical interest on Long Island." Explore this group's website and discover the interesting history of a number of Patchogue's landmarks including the Patchogue Post Office, the Old Patchogue Library, and the 150-year-old Swan River School House, and discover numerous period postcards. The village of Patchogue combines an appreciation for this important link to the past with a desire to move forward into a future that continues to meet the needs of this multi-faceted community.


Did You Know...? 


On Main Street in the heart of Patchogue, you'll find one of Long Island's living treasures-the landmark Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, which first opened in 1923 as a popular vaudeville house.  The theatre was also a premiere venue for silent films and the best in burlesque, as well as live performances from well-known musicians such as John Philip Sousa.  With changing times, the theatre became a major spot for first-run films and a community center for village activities. Due to tough economic times and the competition of a 12-screen theatre nearby, the theatre was forced to close in 1987.  For years, this historic building, filled with memories of a glorious past, remained empty.


Thanks to the efforts of village officials and business leaders, in 1998 the theatre was fully renovated and restored to its 1920s grandeur and it was reopened to a welcoming and appreciative audience.  Much of the original décor had been preserved under the drywall, wallpaper, and plywood that had been used to modernize the theatre in the 1950s.  The full stage and orchestra pit were still intact, as were the stage-side balconies.  The restoration was so meticulous that period cast iron seats from Broadway's Imperial Theatre were installed to ensure authenticity.  This labor of love was accomplished mostly by volunteers who worked tirelessly to bring this great theatre back to the residents of Patchogue, Long Island, and the entire region.


The staff and volunteers of the not-for-profit Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts has made this historic landmark a major regional entertainment center and Suffolk County's largest theatre.  Walk back in time and enjoy live performances, films, educational presentations, commercial productions, community forums and other events from a diverse spectrum of producers and organizations at affordable prices.  The theatre presents a wide range of national and international performing artists, as well as providing a home for the gifted and talented members of the local and regional community. Since 2004, the theatre has maintained a state-of-the-art sound system and Broadway-style lighting and rigging, combining first-rate production with the charming atmosphere of this theatre's rich history. The reopening of this historic treasure is a testament to the pride and hard work of this special community.

SCVOA Executive Board



Peter T. Imbert

Mayor, Amityville


1st Vice President

Ralph A. Scordino

Mayor, Babylon


2nd Vice President

Allan M. Dorman

Mayor, Islandia



Richard B. Smith

Mayor, Nissequogue


Immediate Past President

Timothy M. Hogue

Mayor, Dering Harbor



Paul Pontieri, Jr.

Mayor, Patchogue



Paul Rickenbach, Jr.

Mayor, East Hampton


Executive Director

Hon. Paul J. Tonna

Former Suffolk County Presiding Officer



Hon. Peter A. Bee, Esq.

Former Mayor,

Garden City


Project Manager

Deborah Young





Elected Mayor for the first time in 2004 and again in 2008 and 2012, and Village Trustee for eleven years, Mayor Paul Pontieri has served the Village of Patchogue for 19 years. During his eight years as mayor, Paul Pontieri has made economic development his top priority, and he has focused on putting "feet on Main Street," the heart of the village. With this as the Mayor's basic philosophy, during his tenure in office, Patchogue has experienced a revitalization made possible by over $150 million dollars in public and private investment. Mayor Pontieri has established Patchogue as a successful model of smart growth, with a number of major economic development initiatives that he and his administration have spearheaded.



Within walking distance of Main Street, 170 residential units, 163 market rate townhouses and 291 rental units have been constructed, a large percentage of which are Workforce Housing. Workforce housing generally refers to housing that is constructed or earmarked for people with incomes that are insufficient to afford quality housing within a reasonable distance from their workplace. These developments could not have happened without the $10.1 million upgrading of Patchogue's Wastewater Treatment Plant, which enabled the village to sustain greater population density and economic growth. The village has also received $50,000,000 of federal, state, and local grants that have supported these important developments.


In 2006, Mayor Pontieri initiated an economic development plan that has led to a new mixed-use live/work project for artists in downtown Patchogue. This $20,000,000 project included 45 units of affordable live/work housing for artists and their families, arts-friendly retail space, and gallery space. It was built on a vacant site on Terry Street, one block south of Main Street in the heart of downtown Patchogue. The site is almost entirely controlled by the Patchogue Community Development Agency and the village.


Mayor Pontieri was a school administrator for many years and a former businessman. In August 2009, he was appointed Brookhaven Deputy Town Supervisor for Economic Development, a position he held for two years. He is the Governor's appointee to the Board of Directors of Suffolk County Community College, a member of the Board of Directors of the Long Island Regional Planning Council, Executive Board Member of the New York Conference of Mayors, a Trustee of Independent Group Home Living (IGHL), and past president of the Suffolk County Village Officials Association.  Mayor Pontieri is also involved in many community organizations and activities, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Patchogue-Medford Youth and Community Services.


The Long Island Housing Partnership, the Regional Planning Association, and Vision Long Island have honored Mayor Pontieri for his accomplishments in the revitalization of downtown Patchogue, and for the village's commitment to providing affordable housing for its residents.


Mayor Pontieri was born and raised in the village of Patchogue. He graduated from Patchogue High School and raised his family in the place he has always called home.


SCVOA Executive Board Meetings
1st Wednesday of
every month
All are welcome!
Long Island Regional Planning Council Meetings
1st Tuesday of every month
April 17, 2013
Hotel Indigo
Riverhead, NY
6pm - 9pm
May 15, 2013
Hotel Indigo
Riverhead, NY
5:30pm - 9:30pm
For more information 
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SCVOA's mission is to inform, support, and advocate on behalf of the 33 villages of Suffolk County.  The Executive Board of SCVOA works tirelessly in its commitment to create a strong, effective, cohesive organization that promotes an exchange of ideas and strategies that enable village government to faithfully serve the more than 125,000 Suffolk County village residents.