James J. Martorano Jr., a lifelong Yorktown resident, was recently named superintendent of recreation, filling a role left vacant for about a month.

The Town Board held a swearing in at its meeting on Sept. 3. Martorano Jr. accepted the position with his dad, James Martorano Sr., a former council member, by his side.

“I just want to say that in my 20 years of being on the town board or being in this room, this is by far the happiest and proudest moment for me,” Martorano Sr. said of his son’s appointment.

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Martorano Jr. is taking over the position after the previous superintendent, Christopher Soi, stepped down Aug. 9 to become the chief of Parks and Recreation in Bedford.

Soi’s departure came only one month after Superintendent Todd Orlowski resigned to become chief of Parks and Recreation in North Castle. 

“We are very proud, happy and pleased to appoint James J. Martorano Jr. to the position of superintendent of recreation,” Supervisor Ilan Gilbert said. 

Martorano Jr. graduated from Lakeland High School before going on to earn a degree in communications from SUNY Oneonta. For the past four years, Martorano Jr. has been the supervisor of recreation in Mount Pleasant, specializing in senior citizen recreation and aquatics. 

He already has ideas he wants to implement for Yorktown’s Parks and Recreation Department.

“The future is bright and I thank the town board for considering me for this position,” Martorano Jr. said. “I’m looking forward to being here and putting in my best effort to make the parks and recreation a little bit better than it already is.”

One of his short term goals is to “maintain the wonderful parks that we currently have and make sure safety and security is our main focus.”

The long term goals include increasing recreation programs, including senior activities, adding staff to the department and working toward erecting a central parks and recreation building. The building would act as a senior center and a multi-generational community center.

“I was born on moving day so I’ve been a resident of Yorktown just as long as my father,” Martorano Jr. said.

Martorano Jr. will oversee all town facilities including the two town pools, Sparkle Lake, Yorktown sports fields, six parks, three nature preserves, North County Trailway, Patriot Garden and Teatown Lake Preservation. 

Martorano Jr. and Gilbert have had a discussion about restructuring the department, focusing on fewer chiefs and more individuals doing lower level tasks that Martarano Jr. can delegate things to which will make the department run more efficiently.

In the role, Martorano Jr. will earn $110,000 per year. 

The staff resignations from Yorktown’s Recreation department left officials scrambling to fill leadership vacancies and prompted a discussion around salaries for its leadership.

To that end, Gilbert said that he is making a concerted effort to ensure raises for department heads to make the town competitive when looking to hire. 

Both superintendents left Yorktown Parks and Recreation within weeks of each other and saw their salaries increase significantly in their new positions. 

Orlowski saw a $17,000 raise where Soi saw his salary increase almost $30,000.