Oyster Bay Councilman Anthony Macagnone on Wednesday called for an emergency board meeting to discuss appointing a deputy supervisor before the regularly scheduled Nov. 15 meeting.
On Sunday, Newsday reported online that Leonard Genova, 53, ceased holding the position of deputy supervisor in 2010 when he became town attorney, despite since then being represented as holding both positions. For example, town documents, including a $94.8 million borrowing prospectus in June, have listed Genova with both titles.
On Monday, his name and title as deputy supervisor were removed from the town’s website.
In an interview Wednesday night, Genova said there was nothing improper about him using that title. “I continued to perform those functions and have those responsibilities and the board authorized me to execute documents in the supervisor’s stead,” Genova said.
Macagnone said he was “disheartened” that Genova had used both titles. He said it was now necessary to name a deputy “just in case the supervisor does step down, resigns or whatever happens, we are prepared.”
Federal prosecutors last week charged Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, 67, of North Massapequa, with conspiracy to commit bribery, fraud and obstruction of justice. He has pleaded not guilty.
Town Clerk James Altadonna Jr. said that if the supervisor resigned, the town would follow state law, which gives the town board authority to appoint a replacement to fill out the remainder of his term.
If the board failed to appoint someone, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo could call a special election, legal experts said.
In that scenario, “the main problem would be to authorize someone to sign checks on behalf of the town if the supervisor position remained vacant,” said Robert Batson, a professor at the Government Law Center at Albany Law School.
Macagnone said he wants to avoid such a scenario, though it was unclear when a meeting could be scheduled and who might be appointed.
“Len has often been referred to as the town attorney/deputy supervisor since he does have the authorization to perform some of the functions that would generally be carried out by the deputy supervisor,” spokeswoman Marta Kane said in an email last week.
When he became town attorney in 2010, the town board authorized him to perform the duties of the town supervisor, including signing contracts, if the supervisor were “absent or unavailable,” according to a town board resolution.
At that time, Venditto said Genova would “continue to, in effect, function as the deputy supervisor,” according to a meeting transcript.
“Len Genova was such a great deputy supervisor that I just can’t find anybody to replace him so we’re going to continue until further notice,” Venditto said.
It is unclear whether Venditto has been working since his arrest. Kane said in an email Wednesday that “the supervisor has remained available to conduct any necessary town business.”