Political season is on the front burner.

An unwanted by-product has been the recent disapearance of campaign signs around New Milford for William DeFeo, the write-in candidate for Housatonic Valley district probate judge.

As it turns out, the culprit may not be an opposing candidate's suppporters undermining an opponent's message.

"Campaign signs are not allowed to be placed on state right of ways," said state Department of Transportationspokesman Kevin Nursick.

"The right of way is not a free advertising medium for any one," he explained. "During the daily routine, as priorities and responsibilities allow, we remove the signs."

Mr. Nursick said this is the busiest time of year for DOT highway crews for sign removal and it usually is campaign signs collected.

Signs can block sight lines and are dangerous for people to place along the highways, he said.

New Milford resident Peter Bricker expressed concern Monday that DeFeo campaign signs he had both put up and seen in town were disappearing.

"I put some up on Route 7 and they're all gone," Mr. Bricker said.

Judge DeFeo said he and his wife had placed signs "on public areas" in New Milford and since then had heard from friends the signs "were all removed."

"I don't want to seem complacent, but I suppose such things are political business as usual," Judge DeFeo said Monday.

He noted two, large 4 x 8-foot signs located in Sherman and New Fairfield have been smashed, presumably by a vehicle.

Roger Szendy, the New Milford GOP committee chairman and supporter of GOP candidate Martin Landgrebe, said Monday "It certainly wasn't our people" who have taken the signs.

"I know with Marty's signs, we always get permission from property owners and place them on private property," Mr. Szendy said. "Most of his (DeFeo's) signs that I've seen have been on state property."