Islip Town appoints new environmental commissioner
Islip Town Hall

File photo

Islip Town appoints new environmental commissioner


ISLIP TOWN—Last week, the Islip Town Board appointed a new commissioner for the Department of Environmental Control. Martin Bellew was named to head the department that oversees the town’s handling of solid waste and recycling, as well as environmental protection and animal control programs. 

Bellew, 63, is filling the vacancy that was left by James Heil, who retired earlier this week after nearly three years as commissioner of the department. 

Bellew, a longtime Rockaway Beach resident, will be paid $125,000 a year for his new post with Islip Town. He is currently an independent consultant, according to his resume, working with numerous engineering, solid waste and bio waste management companies. 

Bellew briefly served as acting commissioner for the City of Yonkers’ Department of Parks and Recreation, where he oversaw the daily operations and long-term planning for the city’s 70 parks and playgrounds. Prior to this role, he served for seven years as deputy commissioner for the city, directing all public works operations. 

He also worked for 22 years with New York City’s Department of Sanitation, including six years as director of the bureau’s waste disposal and solid waste engineering. It was here that he managed and implemented the transportation of all material from the World Trade Center cleanup to the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island. Bellew also managed the closure of the Fresh Kills landfill, which opened in 1948 and covers 2,200 acres in the New York City borough. 

The new commissioner, who earned a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of South Alabama, has also taken on Heil’s role as president of the Islip Town Resource Recovery Agency, which provides solid waste management services to the town. He explained that he has a professional relationship with the previous commissioner, as they have both served on the board of directors for multiple environmental organizations, including the New York Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America and New York State Association for Solid Waste Management. 

As for Heil, the Islip Town Board thanked him for his service during last week’s board meeting. Councilman John Cochrane added that Heil always “took the residents of Islip to heart.” 

The former commissioner oversaw plans for the new Islip Animal Shelter in Central Islip and improvements at the recycling facility in Holbrook, as well as the installation of solar panels at capped landfills in Hauppauge and Holbrook. 

Heil previously retired in 1995 as commissioner of waste management for Brookhaven Town. He has reportedly stated that he will not collect another state pension for his most recent retirement. 

Bellew is currently settling into his new position. When asked about the arguably long commute from Queens, he said the trip isn’t too bad considering previous employment.