Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino, a Republican, on Sunday removed lawfully placed political signs in Sea Cliff that were posted by the Democratic Party, Sea Cliff Village Administrator Bruce Kennedy said.
“I was very surprised that the town supervisor would waste his time on something as juvenile as pulling down signs from a telephone pole,” Kennedy said Monday. “It was the most bizarre thing I had ever seen.”
Oyster Bay Democratic campaign spokesman Michael Fricchione said that dozens of the signs, which were paid for by the campaign, were removed from Sea Cliff on Sunday.
Oyster Bay Town spokesman Brian Nevin on Monday referred questions to Saladino’s political campaign, which did not respond to an interview request.
Kennedy, a former Republican who became a Democrat, said the incident happened around 9 a.m. Sunday as he was preparing for the annual Sea Cliff Mini Mart street fair. He said Saladino approached him on the street and told him he wanted the signs — which read “Had Enough Corruption. Vote Democratic — Nov. 7” — removed.
“I told him I didn’t have the authority to do that,” Kennedy said. “I told him it is lawful.”
Kennedy said he then called the village attorney and left a message. He said Saladino asked him what he would do if Saladino and two other men with him took down the signs, and then proceeded to do that.
Democrat and town board candidate James Versocki said Monday that on Sunday morning he confronted three people removing Democratic signs in Sea Cliff, including Eric Tuman, Oyster Bay commissioner of general services.
“When government employees are running around tearing down signs, it’s really scary that people would stoop to that level to suppress people’s speech,” Versocki said.
Tuman did not respond Monday to requests for comment. Nevin said he didn’t know anything about it and it wasn’t a town issue.