Glen Cove City Council tables appointment amid acrimony

Pasquale Cervasio speaks at the end of the

Pasquale Cervasio speaks at the end of the Glen Cove City Council meeting on June 24, 2014, shaming two Republican council members for not supporting Joseph Capobianco's appointment to the council. The vote on Capobianco's appointment was tabled for a future date. Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales

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The Glen Cove City Council has tabled a proposal to appoint a council member after a rancorous meeting punctuated by shouts and accusations.

Mayor Reginald Spinello had proposed attorney Joseph Capobianco, a Republican, to fill the seat left in April by the death of Nicholas DiLeo, a Democrat. At stake is control of the council, which had been split evenly between Republicans and Democrats before DiLeo died.

Spinello, an Independence Party member, openly clashed in front of a packed City Hall at Tuesday's meeting with Republican Councilmen Anthony Gallo Jr. and Efraim Spagnoletti.

Spinello said Capobianco would be "an asset to the whole city" and that the council needs to choose someone to serve until the general election. "It is the people's choice in November . . . but right now it's our obligation as a council to fill that seat," he said.

Gallo and Spagnoletti said they opposed the process by which the mayor brought forth his candidate. "You showed up like a sheriff on a horse and said, 'Joe Capobianco is my candidate.' It was disrespectful to Tony and I as elected officials," Spagnoletti said.

Gallo said he has called for interested candidates to be brought before the council for more than two months. "We owe it to the people of Glen Cove to bring them in and to vet them and to interview them . . . This is also about honoring Nick DiLeo."

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Spinello said Gallo and Spagnoletti wanted to "parade" candidates before the public. But Spagnoletti said the mayor had done just that by putting Capobianco on the agenda when "he knew he didn't have the votes."

Capobianco said he wouldn't pander to the council. "I'm not going to lower myself to this," he said. "I am eminently qualified to be a city councilperson."

Councilwoman Pamela Panzenbeck, a Republican, said she thought Capobianco would work well with both sides. "Somehow this has turned into a political debacle," Panzenbeck said.

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Councilman Michael Famiglietti, a Democrat, said he would vote for a Democrat. Democratic Councilman Timothy Tenke said he wanted to wait until November so "everyone will have a voice."

In light of the acrimony, the appointment was tabled.

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