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Oyster Bay to choose inspector general after Nov. election

Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor and Town of

Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor and Town of Oyster Bay Councilman Anthony Macagnone during the special meeting on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 in Oyster Bay. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Oyster Bay Town Board won’t choose an inspector general until after the Nov. 7 election, town officials said.

Board members on Tuesday listened to public comment and discussed a proposed law to create a department to oversee the town’s contracting processes. Town officials and contractors in recent years have been arrested on corruption charges, some related to contracts awarded by the town.

The full-time inspector general position would be for a three-year term. The department has a proposed $172,000 annual budget.

Councilman Anthony Macagnone said during the hearing that he wanted to amend the proposal to exclude former elected and appointed town officials, anyone who worked for the town within the past five years, and political leaders from being appointed inspector general. Councilwoman Rebecca Alesia said an exclusion for political leaders should include committeemen from either political party.

“There might be a better choice with someone who wasn’t connected to the town, who wasn’t a political leader,” Macagnone said in an interview Wednesday. Macagnone said he wanted the appointee to be “somebody completely outside the realm.”

Leadership positions in Oyster Bay Town government are held by Republicans. Most leaders of Republican clubs in Oyster Bay, as listed on the Nassau County Republican Committee website, are town employees or officials.

Oyster Bay Deputy Commissioner of Human Resources Vicki Spinelli told the board Tuesday that the proposal could be amended to reflect the restrictions proposed by Macagnone and Alesia.

The inspector general position was being considered with a requirement that the appointee have a legal background or equivalent experience, but Macagnone and Alesia also said they wanted the job to be open to anyone.

“It’s very clear the board wants everyone to be considered,” Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino responded.

Democrats had pushed for the creation of a town inspector general before Saladino, a Republican, embraced the idea. On Tuesday Robert Freier, a Democratic candidate for town board, asked the board to forgo making an appointment this year.

“If there’s a new administration and new board members . . . they should have a vote in this process,” Freier said.

Spinelli said it was unlikely that the steps required to establish the position could be completed before Jan. 1. Only Macagnone committed to not voting on an appointment until the new year.

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