Yvette Aguiar took the oath of office as the Town of Riverhead’s 63rd town supervisor today before a packed house at the Suffolk Theater in downtown Riverhead.
Council members Tim Hubbard and Frank Beyrodt were sworn in during the ceremonies, as was Town Clerk Diane Wilhelm, Town Justice Lori Hulse and assessor Meredith Lipinsky. Denise Merrifield was sworn in as deputy supervisor. Assessor Mason Haas and tax receiver Laurie Zaneski were absent from today’s ceremony, both having taken the oath of office beforehand.
Aguiar took the oath on a Bible given to her by a constituent whose door she knocked on while campaigning. It was “a moving moment during my campaign,” she said. The constituent at first did not want to take her flyer, saying she was enrolled in a different political party, Aguiar said. The two “exchanged thoughts” and by the end of the conversation, the resident got her Bible and prayed for the candidate — then she gave Aguiar the Bible.
Aguiar said she wants to hear from all town residents.
“Please reach out to me,” she said. “Otherwise, I have spent eight years as an investigator — and trust me, I will find you,” the supervisor joked.
Aguiar struck a theme of inclusiveness in her speech.
“I will do everything in my power to ensure I represent the entire community and we all move forward together,” she said.
“To my council members who have all agreed to work cohesively, I look forward to working with you and reaching new heights,” she said.
Aguiar thanked former councilman James Wooten, who was in the audience, for his service and told Councilwoman Catherine Kent, who was also in attendance, “I look forward to working with you.”
She went on to remind the board members and town employees,
“there is no ‘I’ in ‘team.’ My successes will be the collective result of the entire town council, leading and managing, inclusive of the entire Town Hall staff, all working together towards one common goal,” she said.
“I have come to realize in management, we need to see all issues and circumstances we face in Riverhead not through a myopic lens which tends to be narrow in scope, but through a panoramic view, a panoramic lens,” Aguiar said.
“Utilizing the myopic approach towards issues and circumstances inhibits isolation and encourages mindlessness, often resulting in missed opportunities to learn and inhibits collaborative solutions,” she said.
“Conversely the panoramic view will provide engagement, the sharing of ideas, concepts, along with the ability to make good, solid and justifiable decisions,” Aguiar said.
“Our community is dynamic and has so much to offer. Together we need to explore its potential,” she said. “I will always have the best interests of our community before mine.”
Aguiar said she believes “government is not the only solution. We, the residents of Riverhead, together are the solution,” she said. “Thank you and God bless.”
Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine administered Aguiar’s oath of office.
Participating in today’s ceremonies were: Riverhead Fire Department; Living Water Church Minister Josh Palmeri, who served as master of ceremonies; Boy Scout Troop 94 of Wading River; First Baptist Church choir; Riverhead High School NJROTC; the Riverhead VFW; the Riverhead American Legion; Police Officer Patrick Halpin of the Suffolk County Police Emerald Society Pipe Band; Riverhead High School chamber choir soloist Hailey Nitti; and Riverhead Polish Hall president Ziggy Wilinski.
Deacon Michael Bonocore and Sister Margaret Smyth offered prayers.
After the ceremonies, Aguiar said she is humbled by the responsibility of the office she has assumed. The supervisor said she intends to release a 100-day plan in the coming days.
Aguiar will preside over her first town board meeting tomorrow morning at 9:30, a special meeting called to officially appoint her deputy supervisor, Merrifield, and her chief of staff, Devon Higgins. The special meeting will be followed by the regularly scheduled town board work session. The next regular meeting of the town board is set for Tuesday at 6 p.m.
RiverheadLOCAL photos by Emil Breitenbach Jr.
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