Councilwoman Joan (DeVito) Cergol was elected to a four year term on the Huntington Town Board in November 2019. She brings to the Town 18 years’ Town government leadership experience, preceded by 18 years’ private sector experience as a marketing and public relations executive, including five years in her own public relations business.
A lifelong Huntington resident, Joan attended Huntington Union Free School District from K-12, graduating from Huntington High School in 1979. She spent two years at Loyola University of Chicago pursuing studies in journalism and business communications, and two years at Long Island University from which she earned her B.A. degree, cum laude, with a double major in broadcast journalism and public relations. She is a graduate of the 2016 Class of the Energeia Partnership, a high level regional leadership training program developed by Molloy College for proven ethical leaders.
Using her private sector skills in a public forum, Joan has helped countless businesses and individuals navigate government bureaucracy to solve their problems. As a result, the Times of Huntington Newspaper named Joan their Woman of the Year in Government in 2012, calling her the “go-to-girl in government.” In 2011, Sustainable Long Island bestowed upon Joan its “Getting it Done” Award for her work in leading the Town’s efforts in the creation and completion of Huntington Station’s Gateway Park.
Joan has long worked with individuals, community and business groups to build consensus for projects that promote economic vibrancy in the town’s downtown hamlet centers. These individuals and groups have come to rely upon and trust Joan’s guidance, commitment and care in ensuring the coordination of town services and support from other levels of government that are vital to their success.
Joan has served as an adjunct professor of public relations at St. Joseph’s College and Long Island University. Both institutions invited Joan to develop her own course curricula based upon contemporary public relations practice as it related to the private and public sectors.
Immediately prior to Joan’s public service on the Town Board she served as the Director of the Huntington Community Development Agency (2013-2017), and before that, as an economic development specialist, project manager and constituent problem-solver in the Town Supervisor’s Office (2002-2017). In her former roles as the Executive Director of the Town’s Local and Economic Development Corporations, Joan managed many of the Town’s high-level capital improvement projects, including the revitalization of Huntington Station and downtown business hamlets, and has used her persuasive writing skills to secure over $20 million in grants for Town infrastructure projects and other programs.
In her spare time Joan has served as a guest columnist for The Long Islander Newspaper, co-authored two books about the history of OHEKA Castle, and authors a web-based blog with personal stories and insights that connect her with people throughout Huntington, and beyond. Her volunteer service includes work as the public information officer for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 22-01, for which she promoted boating safety courses, assistance to Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative, Huntington Historical Society, among other not for profit groups.
Joan and her husband Greg, a longtime television reporter covering Long Island, raised two daughters in Huntington and live near Huntington Village with their boxers, Dempsey and Santino.