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Long Beach acting city manager to resign

Rob Agostisi said he will resign as acting

Rob Agostisi said he will resign as acting city manager in October. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

Acting Long Beach City Manager Rob Agostisi said he plans to resign from the city next month to serve as chief legal officer for the Hauppauge-based LGBT Network.

Agostisi’s departure leaves the city with no plan for a successor to city manager, who acts as the chief administrator of day-to-day city business.

Councilman Scott Mandel said the city council has not discussed a successor. 

“I would like to see someone who has the interests of residents first and foremost and protecting our city,” Mandel said. “I’m open to all scenarios, and I’m optimistic we’ll locate and retain the right individual.”

The city council has failed to hire a permanent city manager since Jack Schnirman left at the end of 2017 to serve as Nassau County comptroller.

The announcement also comes less than two weeks after state officials released a draft audit finding that Long Beach overpaid current and former employees $500,000 in retirement payouts. The Nassau County district attorney's office is also investigating the city's payouts.

Agostisi notified the five council members of his departure Monday night and has offered to stay with the city until Oct. 1.

Agostisi declined to comment further about his departure.

He was hired to start the first legal clinic for the LGBT Network and serve as its first in-house legal counsel beginning Oct. 21. Agostisi has previously worked with the LGBT Network over the past three years planning Long Island Pride in Long Beach.

“Rob has been a masterful lawyer able to navigate the difficult waters of Long Beach,” LGBT Network president David Kilmnick said. “He is a skilled attorney with a passion and heart that’s a great match for the organization.”

The LGBT Network’s legal clinic will offer pro bono legal services to handle discrimination complaints, family law and for immigration services. It will also provide legal assistance for name and gender changes, Kilmnick said, and partner with Hofstra, St. John’s and Touro law schools. Agostisi will also provide internal legal services and labor law issues for the organization.

Agostisi, 43, of Dix Hills, has worked in the city’s corporation counsel office since 2006 and has served as acting city manager since he was appointed by the city council January. He was serving without a contract, and council members had said they would re-evaluate his position at the end of the year.

Agostisi’s future has been in question since the council voting majority shifted with a June primary election. Voters ousted incumbent Democrats Anthony Eramo and Chumi Diamond from the November ballot, but they are serving terms through the end of the year. Council President Anissa Moore is also up for re-election on the Republican line.

During his tenure, Agostisi has also served as the city’s corporation counsel since 2014. He has been responsible for negotiating labor relations, outside litigation against the city, and other projects including the sale of the City Hall property and negotiating a sewer consolidation agreement with Nassau County.

The city has hired outside counsel to respond to a state comptroller’s draft audit, which found Long Beach’s separation pay policy has been out of compliance for at least 25 years and overpaid $500,000 to 10 current and former employees last year for accrued time exceeding city code.

The audit included Agostisi, who was paid $128,547 for his accrued time when he planned to leave the city at the end of 2017 for a job with the Town of Hempstead. He attempted to return the payout when the city offered him a raise to stay, but was told the money had already been processed for taxes.

The draft audit states that Agostisi was paid for 80 percent of his accrued time in November 2017 and he would receive the remaining 20 percent when he left the city. The comptroller’s audit said the payment seemed inconsistent with city code.

He is owed for additional accrued time since 2018, but did not specify how much he is owed.

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