Council Member Tim Hubbard at a Town Board meeting in September 2022. File photo: Alek Lewis

(Updated: Feb. 6) Council Member Tim Hubbard is seeking the Republican Party nod for Riverhead Town Supervisor. Hubbard was interviewed by the Republican screening committee this afternoon, screening committee chairperson Victor Prusinowski said.

Council Member Frank Beyrodt is not going to seek re-election, Prusinowski said. He did not request an interview.

Riverhead Board of Education President Brian Connelly, Riverhead Planning Board Chairperson Joann Waski were both interviewed for council seats, Prusinowski said. Riverhead Republican Committee secretary Denise Merrifield of Wading River, who is a member of the screening committee, was a late entry in the field of council candidates. After screening concluded Saturday afternoon, she decided to throw her hat in the ring, Prusinowski said. Ken Zilnicki of Aquebogue expressed an interest in interviewing for the position, but decided to withdraw before screening, according to Prusinowski. (See editor’s note below.)

Former Council Member James Wooten screened for the position of Town Clerk, as did Diane Tucci, who was a Democratic candidate for Town Board in 2021.

Incumbent Receiver of Taxes Laurie Zaneski, incumbent assessors Meredith Lipinsky and Dana Brown, and incumbent Town Justice Lori Hulse were also interviewed by the party today, Prusinowski said.

The Republican screening committee met this afternoon at the VFW post in Riverhead to conduct the interviews.

The session took place less than 24 hours after incumbent Republican Town Supervisor Yvette Aguiar announced she will not seek election to a third term of office. She did not provide a reason for her decision in the statement released by Deputy Supervisor Devon Higgins in an email last night.

Prusinowski said today’s screening committee meeting was scheduled more than a week before Aguiar’s announcement.

The Republican Committee’s designating convention will take place on Monday, Feb. 20 at the Riverhead VFW, Prusinowski said.

Party designating petitions can be signed beginning Feb. 28. They must be filed with the Board of Elections by April 6. If more than one candidate files petitions for an office — or more than two in the case of Town Council and, this year, tax assessor — the nominee(s) will be decided by voters in a party primary election.

The Riverhead Democratic Committee has not announced any plans for screening candidates for this year’s local elections. The committee posted a message on its Facebook page this morning. The message said “screenings are in progress” and solicits anyone interested in running for all of the open town offices this year. Only one position, that of town clerk, is currently held by a Democrat. Riverhead Democratic Committee Chairperson Laura Jens-Smith could not immediately be reached for comment.

Editor’s note: When originally published, this story omitted Receiver of Taxes Laurie Zaneski, who was interviewed for the position she currently holds and is seeking re-election. This story was updated on Monday, Feb. 6 with additional information provided by GOP screening committee chairperson Victor Prusinowski about a late addition to the field of council candidates screened and also to correct an error in the information he provided Saturday.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.