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Glen Cove mayor: City 'open for business'

Glen Cove's new Mayor Reginald Spinello, with his

Glen Cove's new Mayor Reginald Spinello, with his wife Coleen, is sworn into office by Judge Richard McCord during his inauguration in Glen Cove. (Jan 1, 2014) Credit: Howard Schnapp

A thousand Glen Cove residents turned out Wednesday for the inauguration of new Mayor Reginald Spinello, who promised to bring new businesses to the city and crack down on illegal housing.

The Independence Party member, who also ran on the GOP line to narrowly oust Ralph Suozzi after eight years, insisted during the campaign that the Suozzi administration did not do enough to lure new businesses.

In his speech, received with a standing ovation, Spinello, a councilman since 2011, said, "I'm pleased to announce today that Glen Cove is once again open for business."

"We've got a lot of work to do to reverse the trends of the last 20 years," when Democrats controlled city government, he said. "With an open, honest, transparent and hardworking government, there is nothing we can't accomplish."

He said he is committed to "revitalize our downtown and finish developing our waterfront so that it will no longer be the blighted and polluted site that it was for years." He said his new deputy mayor, Barbara Peebles, a former executive at CA Technologies, will reach out Thursday to the Chamber of Commerce, Business Improvement District and the city's Community Development Agency "to begin laying the groundwork for new business development."

"I promised during the campaign that I would focus on quality of life issues," Spinello noted. "As one of my first orders of business, I'm going to direct my attention to addressing the illegal housing problem, which has been a burden on our community."

He said with landlords renting to more than the legal number of occupants, "not only are the renters endangered . . . but entire neighborhoods are negatively affected."

Spinello also said he would form a recreation commission to provide new youth sports opportunities and facilities.

He said he would keep his campaign pledge to contribute 5 percent of his salary to youth activities and another 5 percent to senior programs.

In the brief City Council meeting following the inauguration at Finley Middle School, the one discordant note came when new Republican Councilman Efraim Spagnoletti cast the only negative vote against Spinello's nomination of Zefy Christopoulos for the new position of chief of staff with a $62,000 salary.

Spagnoletti said he wanted to follow his campaign pledge to make city government smaller. The remaining now-minority Democrats voted for the new mayor's appointments, saying they were well-qualified. And Spinello said Christopoulos is replacing two employees, so "there's a significant savings for the city."

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