Smithtown residents protest town's hiring of right-wing group's co-leader
Some Smithtown residents held a protest Saturday over the recent hiring of a town employee who also co-leads the Long Island Loud Majority - a group deemed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an "extreme antigovernment group."
Kevin Smith applied for the job of audio-visual specialist. The Smithtown Town Board approved the hiring at its last meeting, but Town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim said a background check is still underway and could derail his employment if something unusual comes up.
Smith is frequently seen on the Loud Majority social media pages taking positions opposed to vaccine requirements, COVID-19 policies, LGBTQ rights and others.
Wehrheim told News 12 Long Island that Smith applied through the town personnel department for the part-time A/V position and initially passed a civil service check.
The town's spokesperson told News 12 Long Island in a statement, "It is not town policy to comment on employment matters."
Organizers at the demonstration hope town leaders hear their concerns about Smith and make a change.
"It terrifies me, especially because he has made efforts to intimidate our residents and now he's working for the public safety department in A/V so he is going to have access to recording us. It's scary," said protest organizer Sarah Tully.
Late Saturday afternoon, Smith commented about the demonstration. He told News 12 Long Island in a statement, "The people who preach kindness and 'hate has no home' rhetoric are the ones putting on a public display of hatred, shouting defamatory comments. [They] have exhibited nothing but discrimination towards me and my beliefs. This type of hatred has no home here."