Oyster Bay Councilman Anthony Macagnone said Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino’s failure to notify elected officials of a street renaming in honor of a fallen police officer was “absolutely appalling.”
In a memo to Saladino dated Aug. 5, Macagnone criticized Saladino for inviting his running mates to the Aug. 3 ceremony for New York Police Officer Michael Russell, who died in the line of duty 40 years ago. “Your priorities are wrong,” Macagnone wrote in the memo.
Macagnone, a Republican, said he learned on social media that the town had dedicated the street — North Utica Avenue at North Broadway — in North Massapequa for Russell after the ceremony was held.
“It’s great that we named the street for a fallen officer, but I would have liked to have had the opportunity to be present,” Macagnone said in an interview.
Town spokesman Brian Nevin on Monday emailed a statement from Deputy Town Supervisor Gregory Carman Jr. saying, “The street dedication was well-publicized, attended by numerous elected officials, and we’re surprised that Councilman Macagnone was unaware of the event.”
Town Clerk James Altadonna Jr., a Republican challenging Republican Saladino on the Democratic line in November, said he also learned of the street dedication after the fact.
In the past, Saladino and former Town Supervisor John Venditto would email their schedule for the upcoming week to other elected officials, Macagnone and Altadonna said.
“It’s very upsetting being an elected official of the town, not having the opportunity to show respect for this officer who gave his life in the line of duty,” Altadonna said, adding he’s asked Saladino’s office, through his staff, to return to the appearance schedule.
Macagnone said early Monday he had not received a response to his memo, but shortly after Carman’s response to Newsday, he said he received “about a dozen” invitations from the supervisor’s office about upcoming events.
Saladino posted a photo of the street dedication on his Facebook page that showed him standing with three candidates on the Republican ticket for town office, one of whom was Councilman Steven Labriola.
“He makes it a political event ... by having his running mates there and not asking other elected officials,” Macagnone said.
Councilman Louis Imbroto said he did not know how events were communicated to other elected officials but he believed all elected officials were being notified.
“My secretary puts events on my calendar and that’s what I go by,” Imbroto said in an interview. Imbroto said he knew of the street dedication but was unable to attend.
“I don’t think it’s the supervisor’s responsibility to tell everybody about every event, but I think that if it’s an event that would be appropriate for elected officials to be at, then they should be a part of it,” Imbroto said.
Two copies of past weekly schedules, provided by Macagnone — including one from the Saladino administration last year and one from the Venditto administration — list events such as meetings with chambers of commerce and Eagle Scouts, parties with civic and industry organizations, ribbon cuttings, and local sporting events and festivals.
Macagnone said that he had attended many events as a councilman “to represent the town properly to let the people know we do care” but that he hasn’t received schedules since the beginning of the year.
The Oyster Bay Town press office issued a news release about the street dedication on Aug. 5 that said Saladino, the town board and NYPD officials had dedicated the street. A photograph included with the release showed one town board member, Labriola, who was appointed earlier this year and is running for election.
Altadonna and Saladino have repeatedly clashed at town board meetings. Altadonna said he believes those clashes led to him being cut off from the appearance schedule.
“It stopped when I started to question things,” Altadonna said.