Shelter Island Reporter editorial: Jay Card Jr. will be missed

REPORTER FILE PHOTO |REPORTER FILE PHOTO Highway Superintendent and Public Works Commissioner Jay Card Jr.

The word that Jay Card Jr. has opted to leave town employment after long service with the Police Department and, since 2012, as Highway Superintendent and Public Works Commissioner, comes as a blow.

Mr. Card has served with distinction, managing multimillion-dollar budgets, motivating and managing crews to make sure work is being done well, and organizing projects to ensure those with the greatest priorities get needed attention.

That has not been an easy job, given a reluctance in the past to provide sufficient funding to maintain town assets. Only in the past year under the Gerth administration has there been a determination on the part of the Town Board to create a capital budget to ensure assets are properly maintained, rather than allowed to fall into such disrepair that, when projects are undertaken, they end up costing more because of further deterioration.

Only in his initial run for office, in which Mr. Card ran against Hap Bowditch Jr., did he face opposition, with both parties endorsing his subsequent runs. That about sums up the respect he earned from Shelter Islanders.

Through the years, Mr. Card didn’t just fight for raises for himself, but made the case for needed money to improve the town’s infrastructure. He shouldn’t be faulted for seeking compensation increases for the job he took on.

Highway superintendents from surrounding East End municipalities all make far more than he does and are responsible for the single job, not the three jobs he has undertaken — highway, public works and landfill operations.

Again, no one should be faulted for seeking more money for a job well done.

Looking to the future, Mr. Card’s successor will have to fill big shoes. The person appointed by the board in April will need to demonstrate the same organizational and management skills Mr. Card has mastered.

The appointee will also have to have the political talent to work with the board on funding and a commitment to the town’s infrastructure. Mr. Card set a course that his successor must follow.

As he undertakes his new challenges in the private sector, we wish Jay Card success and happiness.