Oyster Bay Town Councilman Anthony Macagnone said Sunday he wants his name removed from town signs to set an example for other elected officials to follow.
“We should have our names off them and I’ll start by asking them to take my name off,” Macagnone said in an interview. “I urge my colleagues to do the same.”
Macagnone said he will ask the Parks Department to replace his name on signs at town facilities with the Oyster Bay website address.
Macagnone said too many signs bear officials’ names but no contact information for residents to use.
“The only signs that names should be [on] are at the dais at the town board,” Macagnone said.
Hempstead, Riverhead and Smithtown supervisors, the Glen Cove mayor and Nassau County executive this year have ended or called for the end of the timeworn practice of putting Long Island politicians’ names on municipal signage at parks and public facilities.
Oyster Bay spokesman Brian Nevin said in a text message that Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino has ended the practice of putting the supervisor’s name on public buildings such as the Hicksville athletic center.
“The town will consider similar action with park signs when future changes take place,” Nevin wrote. Nevin said town signs at parks were designed so that names are printed on easily exchangeable plates.
“To remove all names now would require the purchase of all new signs as they would otherwise look disfigured and damaged where names currently exist,” Nevin wrote.
Town Clerk James Altadonna Jr. said Sunday that removing politicians’ names from town signage would be “money well spent if we can give greater information to the public, other than our names.”
“Town signs should be informational and not promotional,” he said. Any sign “should have hours of operation, it should have our website and it should have a contact number,” Altadonna said.
Oyster Bay Councilman Joseph Muscarella said Sunday that the practice should not change because having the names on signs keeps officials accountable to the public.
“They have to know when they go into a park or a facility who is the person responsible for that facility, who they can call,” Muscarella said. He said the issue was trivial and politically driven but “to take Tony Macagnone’s name off and make him not accountable to the public is wrong.”
Councilwoman Rebecca Alesia said she didn’t want to spend taxpayer money removing names but if Macagnone’s name were removed, she would “have no problem with my name coming down at the same time.”
“It’s good for people entering facilities to know who their elected officials are, it does make it easier to contact them,” Alesia said. “However, I think that there are times that it has gone to excess and has become excessive.”
Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen said the town has replaced all park signs with elected officials' names to reduce self-promotion and save money during election turnover. Gillen said during a news conference on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, at Newbridge Dog Park in Bellmore that the one-time expense would save $3,000 every time signs needed to be updated with primer and paint for a change in elected office.Oyster Bay's Quality of LIfe Task Force getting to work
On Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino held a news conference to announce the beginning of a crackdown on illegal signs in Hicksville. Calling it a quality of life issue, the town will be working with businesses to bring neon signs and other kinds of intrusive lighting into compliance.