The Republican-dominated Islip Town board approved hiring local GOP leader Frank Tantone as legal counsel to the planning board at Tuesday’s meeting by a 5-0 vote.
The board also voted to elevate John Schettino, a member of the planning board and second vice president of the Islip Republican Committee, to planning board chairman, and to appoint engineer Anthony Musumeci to the board.
Former chairman Joe DeVincent will remain on the board until his term expires in 2017. DeVincent said Supervisor Tom Croci had spoken to him earlier about “rotating the chairmanship.”
Though the appointments were decried by local Democrats as being politically motivated and unethical, there were no questions or comments from the audience Tuesday night.
Town spokeswoman Inez Birbiglia said the former administration hired outside counsel for the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals and Industrial Development Agency. When Croci took office, the new administration decided to provide in-house counsel to those agencies and hire an outside consultant for the planning board, she said.
“This is just a new direction the town wanted to take as land-use, planning and development are the top priority of the administration,” Birbiglia said, adding that hiring Tantone and removing the two outside counsel positions would save the town $45,000 per year.
According to the resolution, town attorney Rob Cicale will now seek an opinion from the Board of Ethics on whether the Tantone hiring is a conflict of interest. Birbiglia said she did not know when the review would start.
Above: Islip Town Hall