Brightwaters trustee accuses mayor of illegal ambulance contract
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A Brightwaters trustee has alleged the village mayor has entered into an illegal $55,000 contract with an ambulance company by failing to hold a public hearing and vote on the deal.
The allegation was among several made by Trustee John J. Riordan -- and not disputed by Mayor Joseph A. McNulty -- at Tuesday night's contentious board meeting, which lasted nearly four hours.
Citing a requirement that the board hold a public hearing and a vote on any contract, Riordan tried to block a $20,000 payment to Bay Shore-Brightwaters Rescue Ambulance Inc., the village's longtime ambulance service provider. The board voted down his request, 3-2.
"We continue to not follow village law as it relates to spending taxpayer money," said Riordan, who was supported by Trustee Tim Cox. McNulty voted with trustees Robert W. Fischer and Denise Gibson.
McNulty said he was unaware of the requirement, but insisted the board knew he was negotiating. He said he was unsure how long the town has employed the ambulance company, but the board had never voted on the contract.
"It was always done that way," said McNulty, who said he did not know how the board would rectify the issue. "I always just negotiated with the ambulance, and this was the first time it was ever brought up."
Peter Klopsis, president of the ambulance company, did not respond to a message for comment.
Riordan's public admonishment of the mayor followed his calls last week for the mayor to account for the work done by a village consultant.
Charlie Fischer, a former trustee and friend of the mayor, has been paid by the village for up to 30 hours weekly as a consultant to its highway department -- a job the mayor had said would end by late last year.
Fischer, who also holds a full-time job at a Ronkonkoma company and is not related to trustee Robert Fischer, did not respond to requests for comment. His wife, Christine, attended the board meeting and shouted, "Get lost!" when approached by a Newsday reporter.
McNulty reiterated that Fischer would likely cut back his hours or stop working. "He doesn't need to be kicked around," McNulty said. "Charlie Fischer's a gentleman -- every inch of him."
Riordan also attempted but failed to pass several other resolutions to amend previous meeting minutes to add information that he says was omitted.
Some residents shouted "interesting" and "unbelievable" in reaction to the votes. Fischer, the trustee, said he voted against the amendments because they contained "gross inaccuracies."