When deciding to run for Islip Supervisor, Republican Tom Croci was motivated by one overriding issue; his desire to help young families start their lives and live in the township.
“My mom and dad in their 20s were able to buy a house and raise a family here,” the Bohemia native said. “But now, taxes are out of control and it’s impossible for many to do what my parents did.”
In making his first run for elected office, Croci, 39, is facing incumbent Democrat Phil Nolan, who has held the supervisor position since 2006.
Croci feels there are many steps the Town can take to help ease the financial burden on young families looking to start their lives in Islip.
Topping his list is job creation. The GOP candidate feels the elimination of what he called “red tape” at Town Hall would help attract news business and allow others to expand, leading to more jobs for local residents.
“The Town has a permitting process that is very arcane,” he said. “I have heard some cases where it has taken businesses one to three years to get a permit. This is something that stifles growth.”
To expedite a permit process that Croci claims is slow, he said that as supervisor he would give the Town’s department heads more freedom to make decisions on their own.
“I have heard from some (Town) department supervisors that their decisions are micromanaged from the supervisor's office,” he said.
In addition, Croci said he would like to expand the use of technology by arming personnel in the field with tablets to allow information about a project to be sent quickly to Town Hall, thereby expediting an application.
“If we continue to use the paper process of the 1950s, and pass folders from desk to desk, that is how things can get lost in the process,” he said.
Croci also feels Long Island MacArthur Airport, which is owned and operated by the Town, is being underutilized and is a key component to driving the region’s economic engine.
While Town and airport officials have not hid their collective desire to attract new airlines such as Jet Blue and Air Canada, Croci feels the public courtship may be detrimental to the process of expanding flights.
“Every time an airline shows interest, it’s in the newspaper and on TV. But this is something that the business community does not like,” he said. “I think negotiations should be allowed to mature before putting word out to the press.”
Beyond policy efforts to boost the Town’s economy, Croci feels the leadership positions he held during active duty service in the United States Navy transitions well to the Town supervisor position.
While in the Navy, he was deployed twice to Afghanistan and served with a SEAL Team as the Intelligence Department Head. He would later serve as the Navy’s representative in the White House Situation Room.
“There are many similarities between my prior positions and the supervisor's job,” he said. “You need to have good judgment and be able to manage complex organization while surrounding yourself with the very best people that are professionals and not owed any political favors.”