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Vote to appoint new Long Beach city manager postponed until at least August

Residents and lawmakers have said they opposed the selection of Corporation Counsel Rob Agostisi as the next city manager. Some are calling on the council to launch an investigation into payouts.

The Long Beach City Council will not select a new city manager until at least August, unless council members unanimously decide on a vote or schedule a special meeting in the next two weeks.

The City Council had originally planned to appoint Corporation Counsel Rob Agostisi, 42, of Dix Hills, as acting city manager Friday morning, but that was scratched before the special meeting.

Council members did not address the city manager search during Friday’s meeting when the council voted to rent a 40-ton air conditioning unit for the city’s police and fire department,

City council president Anthony Eramo said Friday morning that the council intended to vote on a city manager Tuesday during its regular meeting, but an agenda released in the afternoon did not include any action to fill the position that has not been permanently filled since January.

The city council cannot add the item to Tuesday’s agenda without unanimous consent. Unless the council schedules another special meeting, the item cannot be revisited until the council meets again Aug. 7.

Agostisi declined to comment Friday.

Police Commissioner Michael Tangney has served as acting city manager since City Manager Jack Schnirman was elected Nassau County comptroller. Officials said Tangney will remain on the job until a new city manager is appointed.

The city council will instead vote Tuesday on only two items — a law extending tax benefits for Cold War-era veterans and a noise variance for contractors with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct around the clock work on sand replenishment and dune construction near condos on the beach. 

Residents, Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) and Councilman John Bendo opposed the appointment being added to Friday's special meeting. The special meeting was not open to general public comment.

Bendo and Kaminsky called on the city council to open an investigation on payouts issued to 15 current and former management employees in December, including to Schnirman and Agostisi. Bendo said Thursday he will ask the council to issue a request for proposals at a future meeting to start a probe.

"Moving forward, before voting on ANY City Manager candidate (Acting or permanent), the City Council should vote to launch an independent investigation into the questionable payouts made over the last several years," Bendo said in a statement.  

State comptroller officials said they would begin their audit "in a few weeks" to examine payroll and separation payments. The audit is coordinated with the Nassau County district attorney, whose public corruption bureau began a review in April, but was waiting to review the findings of the audit in the next six to nine months. Officials said they would not release any findings until the audit is complete.

About a dozen residents attended Friday’s meeting where the city council voted to spend $46,436 to rent a temporary air conditioning unit for the next three months for the police and fire departments, which is separate from city hall’s system. The city plans to replace the departments' air conditioning system over the winter.

Council members also voted to reschedule a vote on a proposed special events law for Aug. 21. 

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