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Glen Cove split council gives mayor voting right

Glen Cove City Hall in 2010.

Glen Cove City Hall in 2010. Photo Credit: T.C. McCarthy

The City Council has approved dozens of changes to the city charter.

The council voted unanimously Tuesday night on 10 of the 11 laws that make mostly minor changes in wording. But the council split 5-2 on a law on duties of the mayor. Councilmen Efraim Spagnoletti and Roderick Watson voted no.

Spagnoletti said he objected to a change that clearly allows the mayor to vote with other council members on appointments he or she makes to boards and commissions.

“I just think democracy works best with separation of powers,” Spagnoletti said outside the council chambers. “If he appoints someone, obviously he’s going to vote for them.”

Carolyn Willson, chairwoman of the charter review commission that recommended the charter changes, said Wednesday the change was made because the charter had been inconsistent on whether the mayor had the power to vote on appointments. Despite the old, confusing wording, in practice mayors have long voted for their appointees, she said.

Former Councilman Steve Gonzalez said last month that when he served on the council in the 1980s and 1990s, mayors did not vote on some of their appointees. But Willson said she did a spot check of council minutes from more than three decades of meetings and couldn’t find a single time when the mayor did not vote on an appointee.

The changes to the charter primarily were to modernize outdated language, clarify wording and resolve inconsistencies, Willson said.

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