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Oyster Bay Town Board appoints Scalera new town attorney

New Oyster Bay Town Attorney Frank Scalera was

New Oyster Bay Town Attorney Frank Scalera was appointed Aug. 18, and his annual salary will be $165,000. Credit: Newsday / Ted Phillips

The Oyster Bay Town Board has appointed Frank Scalera to town attorney, replacing Joseph Nocella who resigned in December.

Scalera has held several positions in Oyster Bay government since 2003, most recently as chief deputy town attorney.

The board approved his appointment at its Aug. 18 meeting, and Scalera was sworn in afterward, town spokesman Brian Nevin wrote in an email. He will be paid $165,000 a year. 

“Right now the challenges would be to ensure that our local zoning code is being complied with and upheld throughout the town to ensure that any actions or conduct that affect the quality of life about town gets pursued,” Scalera said in an interview.

Scalera said that in recent years he had “spearheaded” efforts to move more legal work in house on negligence cases to reduce the need for outside legal counsel.

Scalera, 52, of Malverne, received his law degree from St. John's University in Queens in 1994 and went to work at the Nassau County attorney’s office, where he said he handled civil rights and torts cases. He then worked at Rivkin Radler LLP in Uniondale, litigating commercial and negligence cases from 1997 to 2003, and then went to Oyster Bay. Since then he has worked in the town attorney’s office and once served as town commissioner of economic development.

Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino praised Scalera’s work during the loan guaranty scandal at the end of former Supervisor John Venditto’s tenure in 2017.

“Frank Scalera is a highly experienced attorney who worked with Federal agents to prosecute those who defrauded the town under the prior administration,” Saladino said in a statement. “He continues to lead our efforts to recoup money for taxpayers and hold former officials accountable for their actions.”

Scalera said he had found documents related to the investigation that he turned over to federal investigators.

“I've always been as helpful as I could with them and gave them everything they needed,” Scalera said.

He also noted that on one occasion when speaking to federal investigators he had an attorney present. 

While working in the town attorney’s office, Scalera also did private legal work. He represented town employees, including the late Frederick Ippolito, Oyster Bay's former planning and development commissioner, in 2013 to appeal a decision by a state tax tribunal over a six-figure New York State tax liability. Scalera said he couldn’t discuss previous clients and that his private practice has been winding down.

In 2013, Scalera gave up the use of his town-owned car after Newsday published a story that political signs had been seen in the vehicle. Then-Democratic candidate Christopher Briggs alleged in a federal lawsuit that town officials had violated state laws prohibiting the use of taxpayer funds for political campaigning by having Scalera use the vehicle to distribute campaign signs for Councilwoman Michele Johnson. The town neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing when it settled the suit in 2015. Scalera, who is the leader of the East Norwich Republican Club, said the claim in the story was “ridiculous.”

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