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Oyster Bay bans political mailings until Election Day

Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino is

Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino is seen here on July 25, 2017. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Town of Oyster Bay government will stop sending mailings to residents ahead of the Nov. 7 election, Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino said last week.

The pause follows bipartisan criticism and a lawsuit suit filed in state court last month alleging that town mailings were using taxpayer funds to promote incumbent candidates rather than informing the public about town services.

Saladino said at last week’s town board meeting that the mailings were not political, but they would be stopped after the next one was sent out.

“I have imposed a 30-day moratorium on all mailings in the town of Oyster Bay to make sure we are in lockstep with all of the issues and we are in lockstep with our residents,” Saladino said.

Saladino’s announcement followed comments at the meeting by Robert Freier, a Democratic candidate for town board, calling for the board to stop spending money on mailings he said were “blatant electioneering.”

“I would ask you to stop, effective immediately,” Freier said.

Councilman Anthony Macagnone and Councilwoman Rebecca Alesia said at the meeting that they wanted to introduce legislation similar to a proposal in Hempstead to restrict candidates from sending mailings within 45 days of an election.

Town Attorney Joseph Nocella advised the board not to take action that could affect the lawsuit. Minutes later Saladino said the town would stop.

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