Latte blamed for late Oyster Bay meetings

Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto. (Sept.

Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto. (Sept. 21, 2011) (Credit: Newsday/Karen Wiles Stabile)

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When Tuesday's Oyster Bay Town Board meeting started 13 minutes late after a 34-minute delay at the previous meeting, it appeared that Supervisor John Venditto's New Year's resolution to start meetings on time had become unsustainable.

Venditto apologized to residents at the end of last year for not starting meetings at the 10 a.m. advertised time, attributing his persistent tardiness to his routine stops for coffee at the Dunkin' Donuts near his North Massapequa home and getting into conversations with residents there. He promised to either skip the coffee stop or leave home earlier.

When he heard of Venditto's pledge last fall, Glen Cove Mayor Ralph Suozzi also promised to start City Council meetings on time after they had slipped into a pattern of 20-minute-plus late starts like the town board sessions. The Glen Cove meeting starts have begun to slip, too, in recent months for lack of attention rather than a need for caffeine and Suozzi said he is trying to reverse that.

Questioned after Tuesday's meeting, Venditto offered a mea culpa and said it was not the town's recent financial troubles requiring extra behind-the-scenes discussion that led to the late starts recently. The problem, he conceded, once again was coffee.

"I confess I was weak this morning and couldn't resist: I stopped at Dunkin' Donuts and I was besieged by residents who brought up legitimate town issues with me and I did the best I could," the supervisor said.

"I'm going to try very hard not to go to Dunkin' Donuts on town board days -- I promise," he said. "I'm going to join Dunkin' Donuts Anonymous."

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