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Venditto promises board punctuality

Yesterday's Oyster Bay Town Board meeting started customarily late, but in an early New Year's resolution, Supervisor John Venditto promised that next year's 10 a.m. meetings will start at 10 a.m.

After commencing the meeting 27 minutes late, Venditto acknowledged the lack of punctuality had not been respectful of the residents who attend.

Almost all town boards and city councils on Long Island start their meetings on or close to schedule.

The exceptions have been Oyster Bay and the adjacent city of Glen Cove, where Mayor Ralph Suozzi often starts council meetings more than 20 minutes late.

"We've been a little lax," Venditto told the handful of residents at yesterday's Oyster Bay meeting.

Venditto said the delays weren't caused by urgent behind-the-scenes town business, but by neighbors and town employees stopping to talk to him as he tried to leave his home or walk into town hall.

"If you don't discipline yourself and you allow the rest of the world to take over, you get sidetracked," he said. "What I have to do is get up a little bit earlier and get out the door a little bit sooner."

Venditto said he also needs to save some of his morning chitchat with board members and department heads for after meetings.

"It's very annoying when these proceedings don't start at the advertised time," said Laura Schultz, president of the community group Residents for a More Beautiful Syosset, who has regularly attended board meetings since 2002. "Government should be conducted like a business because it is the people's business."

After learning about Venditto's New Year's resolution, Glen Cove's Suozzi also promised to be more punctual. "But in the spirit of inter-municipal cooperation, our goal will be to start meetings on time," he said. "If John [Venditto] will commit to it, I'll commit to it."

With Newsday staff

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