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Glen Cove City Council votes against reappointing city court judge

Associate City Court Judge Joseph McCann, pictured on

Associate City Court Judge Joseph McCann, pictured on his sailboat in 2016, served on the city court for 12 years. His term expired Dec. 31. Credit: Marisol Diaz

The Glen Cove City Council voted Tuesday against reappointing Associate City Court Judge Joseph McCann to a third term.

The vote split along party lines, with Democrats — Mayor Timothy Tenke and Councilwoman Marsha Silverman — voting in favor of keeping McCann and the five Republican council members voting against.

About 20 people attended the meeting to support McCann, a Democrat, after the council voted earlier this month to delay his appointment.

“He’s always done a terrific job and he’s fair in his rulings,” said Tenke, who proposed reappointing McCann. “If it was along political lines, which it certainly appeared to be, that really is a sad commentary for this city.”

Councilman Joseph Capobianco said Wednesday that he voted against the appointment because of issues related to McCann’s performance. He declined to go into more detail out of respect for McCann, but added that his decision was not politically motivated.

“We did an investigation into the judge’s performance,” Capobianco said. “They tried to paint that this was done on partisan politics. That’s not the case.”

Councilwoman Pam Panzenbeck said she voted against McCann because ahead of the vote, the former judge mentioned potentially engaging the city in a lawsuit. McCann clarified at the meeting that because his appointment was delayed he couldn’t receive vision and dental benefits and for that reason he may have to take legal action.

Council members Donna McNaughton and Kevin Maccarone declined to comment. Councilman Nicholas DiLeo Jr. could not be reached for comment.

Residents urged the council to reappoint McCann based on his credentials, and said they were upset with the council’s decision, saying it came down to politics.   

“That kind of partisan politics is just destructive of democracy, and you should all be ashamed,” city resident Karin Barnaby said, addressing the council Tuesday evening after the vote.

McCann has served on the court for the past 12 years, is a partner in the Rockville Centre law firm Murray and McCann and is a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. His term on the city court expired Dec. 31, according to a Nassau Courts spokesman. 

McCann said after the meeting that he was "very disappointed" in the decision and that he had received "no complaints about my integrity and my ability."

The city now has one judge, Supervising City Court Judge Richard McCord, a Republican who won re-election in November. The Associate City Court Judge is appointed by the mayor and approved by the city council. 

Tenke said he had considered only McCann for the position and hasn’t decided whether he will propose another candidate.  

“What’s important to remember is that we have the public to think about," Tenke said. "We have to make a decision quickly.”

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