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Officials confirm Brightwaters trustee quit after unauthorized rides to LIRR station

Brightwaters Village officials passed a law Dec. 3

Brightwaters Village officials passed a law Dec. 3 that seeks to prevent unsafe conditions at rented homes, including overcrowding, according to the legislation.  Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

A Brightwaters Village trustee resigned last month after repeatedly using a village code enforcement car to commute to the LIRR station in Bay Shore, officials confirmed Monday.

Carmine Chiappetta stepped down from the board after an investigation showed he got rides in the 24-hour code enforcement car from his home to the Long Island Rail Road station over a period of at least 18 months, village attorney Charles Casolaro said.

“Trustee Chiappetta didn’t recognize that he was doing something wrong,” Casolaro said Monday following a village board meeting. “We thought it would be better to alleviate any appearance of any impropriety."

Chiappetta said Tuesday he had no comment and that he was "not aware of any comments that the board made.”

While there is no village code against using code enforcement cars for commuting, the code says, “Village resources can be used only in advancement of village government,” Casolaro said. The village code encompasses state law, he said.

Brightwaters Mayor John Valdini said officials received a complaint about Chiappetta’s use of code enforcement cars in late September and an investigation was “immediately” launched.

Chiappetta used a village vehicle to get the LIRR station in Bay Shore, “which is out of the village,” on his commute to work in New York City, Valdini said.

The investigation deemed Chiappetta used the vehicles excessively, Valdini said. “It wasn’t just one or two times,” he said.

Casolaro said “the village board feels the issue is resolved.”

He emphasized village officials and Chiappetta came to the conclusion he should resign.

“We decided and the board decided that it was in his best interest to step down and he agreed. . . . Chiappetta resigned on his own accord,” Casolaro said.

Chiappetta submitted a letter of resignation on Nov. 5, officials said. He was first elected in 2016 and was re-elected to the board in June.

Shortly after Chiappetta’s resignation last month, Valdini appointed Mary Del Vecchio to replace him. Del Vecchio, 30, is a lifelong Brightwaters resident. She also teaches fourth-grade at South Country Elementary School in Bay Shore.

Del Vecchio would have to run for election in June to keep the seat. If elected, Del Vecchio will serve the remainder of Chiappetta’s two-year term and can run for re-election in June 2020, officials said. Brightwaters trustees are unpaid.

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