Long Beach City Council members scratched plans late Thursday to appoint city Corporation Counsel Rob Agostisi as acting city manager.
Council members will still hold a special 9 a.m. meeting Friday to reschedule a special events ordinance for next month and rent a 40-ton air conditioning unit for the city’s police department, but they will not vote on the city manager appointment as officials originally planned.
City Council members had planned to appoint Agostisi, 42, who lives in Dix Hills, as the city’s top executive Friday morning on an indefinite interim basis. Agostisi would have succeeded acting City Manager Michael Tangney, who will end his interim tenure Friday after seven months and return to serve as the city’s police commissioner.
As news of the meeting leaked Thursday, it drew criticism from residents online and from some elected officials. The city is required to give 12 hours' notice before a meeting. The agenda issued shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday did not include the city manager resolution.
State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) said he was “disturbed” when he learned a vote was being planned for Friday morning and urged an investigation into the city’s payouts to active and former employees.
“It is critical that city officials first get to the bottom of what transpired with respect to payouts, and have solid answers for taxpayers," Kaminsky said in a Facebook post. "Like many of you, I believe that we need our faith restored and want to know that city finances are in good hands and out in the daylight."
Council members have been conducting a nationwide search since January to replace former City Manager Jack Schnirman, who in November was elected to a four-year term as Nassau County comptroller.
City Council members declined to comment Thursday.
Long Beach city code requires a permanent city manager to maintain residence in Long Beach within 90 days, but there is no requirement for an acting position. Agostisi does not have a residence in Long Beach where he has worked for 12 years in the city attorney’s office under Republican and Democratic administrations.
Agostisi was slated for a roughly $30,000 raise to take the city manager position with Schnirman’s salary of $174,000. Agostisi has said he planned to relinquish his salary as corporation counsel.
The city faced a $2.1 million budget shortfall after council members failed to pass a bond measure to cover retirements and accrued time payouts to Schrnirman and 15 current and former management employees. That included a $128,457 payout to Agostisi when he announced plans to leave for a job with the Town of Hempstead. Agostisi was told the payout could not be returned.