Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino on Tuesday released the first details of a proposal to create a town inspector general to review contracts, standardize procurement and make recommendations to the Town Board.
“It’s all about delivering honest services so when a contract goes out, the public can be assured it was vetted legally, appropriately and that we have belts and suspenders to ensure the highest level of ethics in any municipality across the land,” Saladino said at a news conference in front of the town’s Massapequa office.
Over the past two years, several former town officials and contractors have been arrested on state and federal corruption charges.
The Town Board is to vote on the draft proposal after a public hearing on Oct. 17.
Under the plan, the board would appoint an inspector general to head a department charged with reviewing requests for proposals, bids, contracts and town records, and conducting investigations. The inspector general would be empowered to appoint staff, but the department’s budget would be set by the board.
The department would have subpoena power to compel witness testimony and could make recommendations to the board to impose disciplinary action or pursue civil cases. It also would be required to standardize and monitor the town’s procurement processes.
The inspector general would serve a three-year term. and the salary would be set by the town board at a future date.
The creation of an inspector general was a proposal of the Republican supervisor’s Democratic opponents. In June, Saladino disrupted a news conference by Democrats calling for the position to oversee town contracting. In July, after Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas issued indictments on corruption charges related to Oyster Bay contracts, Saladino announced the town would create an inspector general.
Marc Herman, Saladino’s Democratic challenger in the November general election, in a statement Tuesday criticized the supervisor for flip-flopping on the issue.
“Joseph Saladino continues to confirm what Town of Oyster Bay residents already know — that he is a typical career politician changing his tune to win an election and get his name in the news,” Herman said.