Let’s try something different by doubling up on column subjects this time around — just before vacation time kicks in.
First up, we’ll deal with reader reaction to Sunday’s column on women in public office on Long Island. And from there, move on to Oyster Bay, where Supervisor Joseph Saladino is taking Long Island officials’ habit of plastering their names on almost anything to a whole new level.
Plentiful readers weighed in on Sunday’s column about four women town supervisors and the region’s first woman county executive. And while Long Island has had several such officials, including former supervisors Mardythe DiPirro in Southampton and Henrietta Acampora in Brookhaven, come January the region will see its largest contingent of women at one time ever serving in the top-elected executive post in their municipalities.
With that, however, came reader debate on the question of who was Long Island’s first woman supervisor.
That honor — as the column noted — often has been attributed to North Hempstead’s May Newburger. But readers disagreed — with some citing Judith Hope, who was elected East Hampton supervisor in 1973, while others said the designation rightfully belonged to Hannah Komanoff — who was elected Long Beach mayor, on the same day, it would turn out, Hope won the supervisor post.
In 1973, Nassau’s mayors and town supervisors ran their municipalities, but also sat together as the county’s board of supervisors, which, after its weighted-voting system was challenged in federal court, was replaced by a legislature.
In becoming mayor then, Komanoff also became the county board’s first woman supervisor, which, in turn, would make Newburger Nassau’s first woman town supervisor and Hope both Suffolk’s and Long Island’s first woman town supervisor.
With that settled, let’s turn now to Oyster Bay, which, according to a Sunday Newsday report, “ . . . tweets no more.”
That’s because the town’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram outlets were shut down shortly after Supervisor Joseph Saladino — in a landslide — won election against five other supervisor candidates.
Instead of separate accounts bearing Oyster Bay’s name, the social media outlets were deemed unnecessary because, as an elected official, Saladino has his own social media accounts. “The town’s Facebook page was removed, as it was a duplicative effort with the supervisor’s page,” spokeswoman Marta Kane told Newsday in an email.
Many elected officials on Long Island — and especially, it seems, in Nassau — have raised such self-promotion to high art, with their names appearing on signs at parks, public venues and other materials.
County Executive-elect Laura Curran, a Democrat, said she would reverse that tradition by keeping her name off most county signage, a move she made in response to complaints about outgoing Republican County Executive Edward Mangano’s appending his name to just about everything from “Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano Invites You to the 2017 Native American Feast” fliers to a “Edward P. Mangano Welcomes You to Grant Park” sign.
Altogether, Mangano’s name appeared on some 700 signs, an administration official told Newsday. And it took Mangano’s administration about three months — and some $80,000 to $85,000 to remove former Democratic County Executive Thomas Suozzi’s name from all county properties.
“Our names don’t belong on county signs or forms, and taxpayers need to know their money is being spent only for the public good,” Curran told Newsday.
Edward Romaine, Islip’s Republican town supervisor who years ago decided against putting his name on town signs, agrees. “My name is on one sign, the one at town hall and that’s the way it should be,” said Romaine, who recently, and easily, won re-election. “It shouldn’t be about us, as elected officials,” he said. “We’re just passing through. ”