The Suffolk County Legislature on Tuesday appointed Jaqueline A. “Jackie” Gordon to the SCWA Board. Gordon, 66, of Copiague, will fill the unexpired term of Mario Mattera, who resigned to become a New York State Senator on January 1st.
The appointment of Gordon is a historic one, as it creates the first female majority board in SCWA’s 70-year history. Gordon joins fellow Board Member Elizabeth Mercado and Board Secretary Jane Devine in addition to Tim Bishop and Chairman Patrick Halpin.
“I look forward to being part of the board, and I believe my lived experience will bring a fresh perspective to the board in bringing the best drinking water possible to all residents of Suffolk County,” Gordon said. “I’m excited to get to work.”
A former Babylon Town Board member, long-time school counselor and U.S. Army veteran, Gordon is a uniquely qualified board member, said Halpin.
“She’s had a unique career in public service, having spent much of her life in the Army Reserves where she was a lieutenant colonel as well as being the first black woman elected on the Babylon Town Board,” he said. “She’s an educator who has a deep understanding of local government and a rich skill set, which will be very valuable to the board in delivering high quality drinking water to our customers.”
Gordon’s name was put forward on the recommendation of a legislative committee after interviewing several contenders. Gordon served as a Babylon Town Board member for 13 years and led the town’s Veterans Advisory Board, stepping down last January to run for Congress.
Even while serving as an elected town board member, Gordon also served her country in the U.S. Army Reserves as a military police officer from 1984 to 2014. She was deployed four times--serving in Germany during Operation Desert Storm; as an operations officer at Guantanamo Bay; as a battle captain in Baghdad during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq; and as commander of the 310th Military Police Battalion in Afghanistan in 2012.
“We are thrilled to have Jackie on board,” SCWA Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey W. Szabo said. “She’s been an incredible public advocate for many years, and we know she’ll do a great job for our customers.”
Gordon also spent a quarter century as a school counselor for Western Suffolk BOCES in Farmingdale, where she helped students and provided crisis intervention when social or behavioral issues affected their educational and vocational aspirations. She graduated from CUNY Hunter College with a B.A.in health education in 1987, a M.S. degree in counselor education in 1997 and a professional diploma in educational leadership in 2006. Gordon’s term expires in 2024.