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John Venditto, Oyster Bay Town supervisor, files for pension days before he’s sworn in

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto is sworn

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto is sworn into office on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2015. His retirement officially began Jan. 1. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto has filed the paperwork to receive his pension, according to the state comptroller’s office.

Venditto filed for his benefits on Dec. 2, less than two weeks after narrowly winning re-election by 99 votes in a count that went to absentee ballots.

His retirement officially began Jan. 1, four days before he was sworn in Tuesday to his 10th term in office. Retiring for the purpose of receiving a pension does not mean Venditto will resign.

“As of today . . . he plans to serve his full term,” town spokeswoman Marta Kane said in an email.

Venditto, who began working for the town in 1981, is eligible for both his pension and salary as town supervisor.

State Comptroller spokeswoman Nikki Jones said in an email Wednesday that Venditto’s annual pension benefit had not yet been calculated.

But Venditto issued a statement Thursday that his annual pension is $79,575 and that he will take a reduced salary from the town so his combined gross pay will remain at $140,000.

Venditto said this would save the town money.

“Because I am now retired, the town will no longer have to pay $25,000 annually to the retirement system [and Social Security] on my behalf,” Venditto said in his statement. “Therefore, the total savings to our residents is approximately $105,000.”

Kane said in an email that his retirement was a “personal choice,” and she declined to further elaborate.

Venditto previously worked for the town as an attorney and served as a town board member. He was elected supervisor in 1997. He was eligible to file for his retirement benefits in 2014, the year he turned 65.

Paul Sabatino, a political observer and former counsel to the Suffolk County Legislature, questioned Venditto’s timing to file for retirement.

“Generally speaking, the elected officials have done it immediately as soon as they’re eligible,” Sabatino said. “The fact that there was a delay just raises a question as to whether it’s a prelude to another step. Because of all the controversy in the town, maybe he’s planning an exit strategy.”

Last March, the town’s Planning and Development Commissioner, Frederick Ippolito, was indicted on tax evasion charges. Town concessionaire Harendra Singh was indicted in September on 13 federal charges, including bribing a town official to obtain $20 million in loan guarantees.

Venditto’s opponent in the November election, John Mangelli, a Bayville attorney and unaffiliated candidate who ran on the Democratic line, said voters should have known about Venditto’s pension plans before the election.

“It should have been disclosed to the voting public because it may have swayed their decision to vote for him,” Mangelli said.

Venditto joins other town supervisors on Long Island who collect both a pension and a salary: town Supervisors Frank Petrone of Huntington and Angie Carpenter of Islip both receive pensions and salaries.

Venditto said at a Tuesday town board meeting that his plan for 2016 was “survival.”

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