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Oyster Bay task force on credit drop includes town officials

Supervisor John Venditto at the Town of Oyster

Supervisor John Venditto at the Town of Oyster Bay board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Oyster Bay’s task force to address the town’s credit rating downgrade to junk status will consist of members of the same team that has overseen its finances during a five-year fiscal slide.

Standard & Poor’s downgraded Oyster Bay to BB+ on Wednesday, citing 10 years of deficits, weak management, lack of planning and poor liquidity. In 2011 the town was rated AAA by the credit agency.

Town Supervisor John Venditto said Thursday the group will consist of himself, Councilman Joseph Pinto, Town Comptroller Robert McEvoy, Town Finance Director Robert Darienzo, as well as its longtime accounting firm Albrecht, Viggiano, Zureck & Company PC of Hauppauge and its Syracuse-based financial adviser, Fiscal Advisors & Marketing Inc.

“These are people who have firsthand knowledge of all the information we’re going to need to address the issues we’re confronted with,” Venditto said, adding that other people could be added to the group.

“As the situation unfolds and the scope of activity is clearer we’ll attach to the task force whoever else we need or whatever other resources we need,” he said.

No one will lead the task force and meetings will be held on an as-needed basis, Venditto said. The task force is expected to create a report in 60 to 90 days, he said.

The downgrade brought three protesters to Town Hall Thursday afternoon. The organizer, Dean Hart, a former Democratic candidate for Nassau County Legislature, called for Venditto to resign over what he said was a “mounting fiscal catastrophe.”

“The current administration is just hurting people,” Hart said.

Venditto said he has no plans to resign and that two protesters, whom he declined to identify, “represent all of the things that are wrong with government and politics today.”

“They are only concerned with advancing a purely political agenda in the face of a serious governmental problem,” Venditto said.

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