Editor’s note: Susan Henke Brinkman will have to run in a special election in March if she wishes to serve out the remaining two years of outgoing trustee Bill Hilton’s four-year term.
There was a changing of the guards Monday night in Patchogue Village Hall, where the village bid farewell to a longtime trustee and excitedly welcomed a new one.
Bill Hilton is leaving the village after 10 years on the Village Board — and many more spent as a member of the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals starting in the late 1988.
He’s moving to a new home on Forge River in Mastic, and now cannot hold elected office in the village.
Meanwhile, Susan Henke Brinkman officially vacated her Planning Board post Monday night and took a seat on the Village Board.
Mayor Paul Pontieri kicked off the special meeting by thanking Hilton for his service.
“A hundred percent of the time he voted for what he believed was right for his community,” Ponteiri said.
“There are only two things that are important to me in this business: trust and loyalty,” Pontieri continued. “Those things don’t mean that we agree. What they mean is that you’re loyal to the community that you serve, and I trust that when you vote for something, you’re voting in what you believe is in the best interest of the community you live in.
“And that’s what I’m going to ask of Susan, and what I ask of any of these board members.”
After thanking Hilton, whom he said embodied those core values, Pontieri turned his attention to Henke Brinkman, a Bayport-Blue Point School District employee who currently works at Sylvan Elementary School as a library media speciality.
As the mayor spoke, Henke Brinkmann beamed from her seat in the audience, her husband and three children at her side.
Pontieri ticked off the highlights of her resumé, which includes legislative work at the town and county levels of government.
“But more important, she’s spent 10 years on the Zoning Board,” Pontieri said. “She’s now back on the Planning Board. She brings a sense of what the community is about. For me, personally, it’s somebody that I know and I trust, and I think the board trusts, and I think the community is going to learn who she is as a person.”
He also spoke of her volunteer efforts, which, according to her resumé, includes time spent with the River Elementary PTA and four years as president of the Greater Patchogue Historical Society.
“She’s somebody that has shown all of us what it means to be that person who gives,” he said.
The Village Board voted unanimously to accept her for the position.
“I thank you from the bottom of my heart for believing in me,” Henke Brinkman said. “Community means the most to me. From a very young age I was raised to believe in the Village of Patchogue, from my Poppy who was a cop on the Four Corners to my father who’s the village historian, and raising my three children to know that community means everything.
“To have this opportunity means the world to me.”
There were about two years in Hilton’s four-year term.
Top photo: Village Justice Patricia Romeo swears in Susan Henke Brinkman as Mayor Paul Pontieri looks on Monday night in Village Hall. (Michael White)