Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino in his Tuesday State of the Town address touted changes in governance since his appointment almost six months ago.
“I am proud of the many milestones of this town board and our dedicated workforce as we have reached so many of our goals in streamlining operations, restoring the public’s trust, enhancing transparency while delivering important services in a very fiscally sound way,” Saladino said.
The speech, which was announced in a news release late Monday afternoon, highlighted changes in the town, some of which began under the administration of former Supervisor John Venditto, who resigned in January after being indicted on corruption charges, and some of which have yet to be enacted.
The speech touched on the town’s reduction of debt and implementation of its revised ethics code — two initiatives that began under Venditto — while mentioning expected changes including the conversion to single-stream recycling.
Saladino said in an interview after the meeting that last year’s arrests of Venditto, and last month’s arrests of a town employee and former town officials, had been an “embarrassment.”
In his speech, Saladino cited “enhanced livestreaming” of town board meetings. Town spokesman Brian Nevin said officials had added high-definition video and improved audio since Saladino’s appointment on Jan. 31.
Saladino announced that some town officials and employees will no longer take home town-owned cars. Nevin said in an email that 28 cars are affected by the policy, enacted on Monday, but that some union employees will continue to take home cars under their contract.
Among the accomplishments Saladino noted were ending some leases and moving municipal operations to town-owned facilities. One lease expired last year. Another is the subject of a lawsuit filed against the town last month by Turnwood Associates LLC seeking $178,408 in back rent after the town allegedly stopped paying rent in January on a Woodbury storage space under a lease that expires in 2020.
He also said the town had secured $10 million in federal funding for storm mitigation projects in the past six months. The funding is part of $26 million allocated in 2014 under the New York Rising program for projects in the Massapequas which required additional board action--taken last month--for the money to be disbursed.
Marc Herman, the Democratic candidate for supervisor running against Republican Saladino in the November election, issued a statement criticizing the speech for being made “without any public notification” and said it was “sad that our local government continues to operate in secrecy.”
Nevin said in an email that it was “sad” that Herman was continuing “to throw mud at good-government initiatives.”