Huntington residents bearing flowers, a piece of art and kind words, and the Huntington Town Board bade a fond farewell Tuesday to Council members Joan Cergol and Eugene Cook who are retiring at the end of the year.
Cergol, a Democrat, won her first full term in 2019, leading all candidates, after she was first appointed and then elected to a one-year term in 2018 to fill the spot of Susan Berland, who had been elected to the Suffolk County Legislature. At the time, Cook voted to oppose her appointment.
Cook, who ran as a Republican and as an independent, was first elected to the Town Board in 2012. He fought against the LIPA tax settlement, and built a reputation as a maverick.
Both decided not to run for re-election this year. Their retirement from the board led to the election of Brooke Lupinacci and Theresa Mari, who, as of January, will make the board all Republican for the first time since 1957.
Cergol was the only Democrat on the board since 2022.
Residents and members of the board praised the two for their contributions.
Among them was Huntington Station resident Jim McGoldrick who said that Cook, a businessman, had acted to handle several issues, cutting through the redtape or not waiting for government action to get things done, such as getting rid of a problematic building, paving a parking lot or helping veterans.
Several others, including Huntington Station resident Cheryl Blum, John Posillico, vice chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals, Ken Johnson, chair of the town’s African American task force, activist Daniel Karpen, and Cergol’s husband, WNBC-TV reporter Greg Cergol, stepped up to praise her tenure on the board and previous contributions on housing issues, work with civic groups, pets, and her reputation for solving problems.