Frank Rizzo | Democrat
In this April 2011 photo, Sal Indelicato, with caretaker Natalia Lobanova, checks out the supervisor's desk in the new Cochecton Town Hall he had a big hand in helping to finance.
Tireless servant of town, neighbors
Story by Frank Rizzo
COCHECTON CENTER January 17, 2014 The man once called “one of the hardest working supervisors in Sullivan County” is now at rest.
Former Town of Cochecton Supervisor Salvatore Indelicato died Monday, nearly six years after suffering a stroke in April 2008.
He is an answer to a trivia question “Who was the first NYS motorcycle trooper to cross the newly-opened Tappan Zee Bridge?”
But there was nothing trivial about Indelicato.
Soon after he had the stroke that was to end his long political career, the Cochecton Town Board gained insight into the long hours their supervisor put in and the many tasks he performed.
“We all know how Sal turned a part-time job into a three-person job,” then Councilman John Reggero noted at a special meeting called to deal with the circumstances and divvy up Sal’s responsibilities.
“It’s really hard to pick up the pieces he juggles,” agreed then Deputy Supervisor Larry Richardson, still a member of the council.
Indelicato, his colleagues discovered, took his job as town’s budget officer seriously and was a careful steward of the taxpayers’ monies. It was part of a character forged by growing up “as a child of the Great Depression,” where “I acquired work ethics and fiscal responsibility values” to quote from a candidate’s statement he wrote in the Democrat.
“He always made sure every penny was accounted for and never wasted,” said Gary Maas, the current supervisor. Of the man he succeeded (after Richardson’s interim term), Maas noted, “If you were a resident of the Town of Cochecton and you didn’t know Sal, it had to be your fault.”
Richardson said, “Although Sal and I did not always agree, he is one of the men I admire most. He is the main reason that the Town of Cochecton is financially so strong. He believed that the town should only buy what it could pay for without incurring debt and that some funds must be saved for the unexpected.”
After retiring from a 38-year career in the State Police as a senior investigator, Indelicato turned to local politics in the town where he and wife Helene had settled in 1961. He won a seat on the Cochecton council in 1991 before being elected supervisor in 1997, a post he held until the end of 2010.
Hard as he worked as supervisor, Indelicato did not forget the past or neglect the future. He served as town historian and his efforts can be seen on the town’s website.
He also accelerated the funding started under predecessor Jean McCoach to put away money for a badly needed new town hall. When a dedication and open house was held at the impressive facility in April 2011, the former supervisor received a standing ovation when he was wheeled in.
The same thing happened at the Club at the Villa Roma a year earlier, when Indelicato was honored as the “Pride” of Cochecton by the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce.
His obituary (see page 2B) noted that Sal “was a tireless worker and most happy when he was working, helping a neighbor or anyone in need of an extra hand.”
Typically, he was giving a helping hand to a neighbor that Saturday in April when he was felled by the stroke.
“I found his integrity and strength of purpose unmatched,” Richardson said. “For all he did for the town, he seemed to be most pleased when he could help someone in need. Many people in the community benefited from his personal caring and generosity; the less said the more it pleased him. I miss him dearly.”
“He was always professional, honest and fair,” summed up Maas. “He definitely earned the honor and respect of all who knew him.”