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Glen Cove mayor's plan for City Council appointment draws criticism

Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello, pictured here, plans

Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello, pictured here, plans to name a local Republican attorney to replace late councilman Nicholas DiLeo. Credit: Barry Sloan

Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello plans to name a local Republican attorney to replace late Councilman Nicholas DiLeo, over objections from two GOP council members.

The appointment of attorney Joseph Capobianco is subject to a council vote next Tuesday.

Republican councilmen Anthony Gallo and Efraim Spagnoletti criticized the proposed appointment at a pre-council meeting on Tuesday. Gallo objected to the process, saying it should be done in a way to honor DiLeo, a Democrat whose death in April reduced the council to five members.

"It will work best if all interested candidates come to be interviewed by the City Council," Gallo said.

Democrats have nominated insurance executive Theresa Moschetta to run in November.

Spagnoletti said it is better to wait with the fall election so close. "It would be easier and less stressful for all involved to leave this up to the people of Glen Cove," he said.

But Republican City Councilwoman Pamela Panzenbeck said she was concerned about leaving the seat vacant for months. "We really don't want a situation again to arise where we can't come to an agreement on something," she said. In April, a council vote failed in a tie. The mayor can cast a vote on most items before the council.

"We'll let the chips fall where they may," said Spinello, an Independence Party member. Spinello said Capobianco has the unanimous backing of the Glen Cove Republican club.

When the City Council faced a vacancy in 2004 after a contested 2003 race resulted in a tie, that seat was vacant for more than 10 months until it was filled by a special election. In 2005, the mayor and city council appointed someone to fill the seat of a councilman who had been elected to the Assembly.

At stake is control of the city council. The last election evenly split the council between parties. A Republican appointment would give the GOP a supermajority and an incumbent in November.

Councilman Michael Famiglietti said he and fellow Democratic Councilman Timothy Tenke, who did not attend Tuesday's discussion, want a Democrat because DiLeo was a Democrat.

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