Infighting erupts among Islip Democrats

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The primary battles among Islip Democrats have turned ugly.

Activist Victoria Serpa said new town chairman Gerry Pallotta last month told her he was ousting her from the party executive committee and that he gave her no reason.

Serpa claims he doesn’t have the power to remove her, saying that can only be done by a two-thirds vote of the executive committee. Pallotta, reached later, said that Serpa was not elected or appointed to the executive committee at last fall’s town convention. Pallotta said he does not know if she had previously been elected, but said her term would have ended last fall.

The infighting has erupted in town board primaries being waged by former town chairman Ivan Young and Diane Slinowski and in an effort to oust veteran Democratic Legis. Rick Montano, a move engineered by backers of County Executive Steve Bellone. Serpa said she believes Pallotta acted because she’s backing Montano, Young and Slinowski, a claim that Pallotta denies.

Meanwhile, Renee Ortiz, the Suffolk Legislature’s deputy clerk, also on the executive committee, lambasted Pallotta for leaving the party “divided and in disarray.” She criticized him for endorsing a ”virtual unknown candidate” Monica Martinez over Montano, the party designee. Ortiz said Martinez “never screened, has never participated or supported this committee or had any real known involvement in the community.” Martinez, a local school assistant principal, is the sister of Babylon Councilman Tony Martinez, co-chair of County Executive Steve Bellone’s transition team.

Pallotta, who personally endorsed Martinez, said Ortiz feels “entitled” to succeed Montano in 2015 and is “feeling passed over.” He added Martinez is “more in touch with people's needs” and her team has collected more than 2,000 signatures for themselves and the town slate.
 

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