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Long IslandPolitics

Long Beach city council defies party leaders in vote for board president

Anissa Moore, left, is sworn in as a

Anissa Moore, left, is sworn in as a member of the Long Beach City Council by NYS Supreme Court Judge, Hon. Sharon Gianelli, during the Long Beach City Council induction ceremony at city hall in Long Beach Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. Moore was sworn in as the city's first African-American city council member Friday. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

The Long Beach City Council’s rejection of first-term Councilwoman Anissa Moore as president occurred in a split vote that defied new Democratic Party leadership and reflected a fractured caucus, party members acknowledge.

The all-Democratic City Council voted 3-2 Jan. 1 to elect incumbent Len Torres council president and second-term Councilman Anthony Eramo vice president.

Long Beach Democrats chairman Rob Solomon sent an email before the vote urging the council to elect Moore — the top vote-getter in November and the panel’s first African-American member — as president.

“I urge you to get this done in advance so that there is no disagreement regarding the new President of the Long Beach City Council,” Solomon wrote. “It is my opinion that Anissa Moore is the appropriate choice. First, she garnered the highest vote. Second, her election is both symbolic and historic and should be recognized as such by the City Council.”

City Council leadership positions are largely symbolic, but they carry prestigious roles in running meetings and serving as representatives of the board. Torres has served as council president since the board ousted Eramo from the role in February amid the party split.

Four of the five council members returned this year, with Moore replacing outgoing Councilwoman Fran Adelson. Moore, a communications professor at Nassau Community College, was nominated by a new Long Beach Democrats committee sponsored by the Nassau County Democratic Party.

Council members have tried to work on a united front, but both factions admit a divide remains.

“I thought because this was a historic moment, we should send out a historic message of where we are as a city,” Moore said Wednesday. “There’s absolutely division still present. In the end, we’re all Democrats, and we should take the time to find a way to work together.”

Councilwoman Eileen Goggin nominated Moore and suggested the council follow a previous decision to rotate the presidency every six months, which has not been followed for three years.

Goggin said Moore should be elected president as the top vote-getter, which is not in the city’s charter and has largely not been followed for the past decade.

“I’m very proud to be part of this administration,” Goggin said. “It’s an administration that embraces new ideas and prides itself on being inclusive, not stagnant. Our newest member has expressed strong interest as president. Although she’s new, she is nevertheless accomplished, brings a fresh perspective and an independent voice.”

Torres, Eramo and Councilman Scott Mandel voted against the nomination, as well as Moore’s nomination for Goggin as vice president.

Mandel and Torres said they felt the council should stay its course under the current leadership. Torres, a retired Long Island and New York school administrator, noted he did not rise to superintendent of schools on his first day.

“Teaching the ropes to someone is just as important as the opportunity,” Torres said. “I believe some day Anissa could be president and maybe will be in the next six months.”

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