Town of Oyster Bay Councilman Anthony Macagnone spoke out last week about not getting a town appearance schedule for the last six months after missing a street renaming event in Massapequa. He is blaming Supervisor Joseph Saladino on the issue, claiming he believes Saladino is using the events as a political pawn.
“It’s disgusting what he’s doing,” said Macagnone. “It’s appalling. He really is not a leader and I hope the voters see the games he is playing. [He excluded me] because it has to be about him. I am outspoken. I speak my mind and he doesn’t like that. I think it’s childish on his part [to not share the schedule]. He can play games with his schedule, I can care less. I do care when we don’t get invited to town stuff. Political stuff, I don’t want to go to. Town stuff, we should be at.”
The appearance schedule is sent out to numerous town elected officials frequently to inform them where the supervisor will be showing up for events. This includes, but is not limited to, meetings, fairs and ribbon cuttings. In response to Macagnone, town spokesperson Brian Nevin released a statement attributed to Deputy Supervisor Greg Carman.
“The street dedication was well-publicized, attended by numerous elected officials and we’re surprised that Councilman Macagnone was unaware of the event,” said Carman.
Town Clerk James Altadonna, a Republican who is running for town supervisor on the Democratic line, said that he, too, hasn’t received a schedule after he questioned the supervisor for giving 87 people working for the town $734,000 in raises and asked why union workers haven’t “had a raise in years.” (Editor’s Note: After the time of publication, the town approved additional raises for municipal union workers at their Aug. 20 meeting)
“I disagree with the way he manages and that’s when the falling out started, and when the schedule was rescinded from my office,” said Altadonna. “If you disagree with the supervisor, he takes things away from you. If you disagree with him, he takes the schedule away.”
Altadonna’s biggest issue is with the fact that town employess, Jeff Pravato (mayor of Massapequa Park and town receiver of taxes candidate) and Rich LaMarca (town director of labor-management relations and town clerk candidate) are the ones attending these events while, in Altadonna’s eyes, they should be working, while the seven elected officials should be the ones going to these events to represent the town.
“[Supervisor Saladino] is using his position to promote the [electoral] team,” said Altadonna. “They should be working for the town. The residents are paying their salary, yet they are showing up all over town during work hours at scheduled events. You can’t be an employee or an elected official in another municipality, running for office and representing the town. To me, that is a conflict of interest.”
While Macagnone said he was appalled by the supervisor withholding the schedule, he made clear he was not frustrated by it, as he feels there are bigger things to be frustrated by under this administration. One of these is the renovation project at Allen Park in Farmingdale.
While the town put new fields down, Macagnone heard from residents that they should’ve gotten a community center.
“They put these fields up, but parents are saying there’s not a place to have shade,” said Macagnone.
Another major issue Macagnone cited was the road work in the town, criticizing the town’s method of going with a milling fill instead of an alternative route.
“A milling fill is a cheap way to get the road done,” said Macagnone. “Unfortunately, it only lasts, at most, 10 years. If they were doing it properly, it would last 30 years, but it costs more.”
Madison Mannion, a spokesperson for the Saladino campaign for reelection, said in a statement that Macagnone served on the town board for the past 20 years and “had every opportunity” to invest in these issues.
“Supervisor Saladino has increased funding for road repaving by $22 million and hundreds of streets have been repaved,” said Mannion. “These improvements and many other improvements continue while cutting taxes. He revived the Allen Park expansion project. This new administration got the job done, including ongoing improvements to the existing Allen Park Community Center.”
In response to the statement, Macagnone says that Saladino is “taking a victory lap for the things he didn’t do.” He said that Allen Park should’ve gotten an expanded community center to seat a few hundred people, not just “a coat of paint.”
“He’s just kicking the can down the road,” said Macagnone. “If the supervisor wants to have a serious debate, how about he responds instead of his staff? I’d be happy to talk to him about it anywhere he likes, anytime he likes.”
Mannion also said that it is unfortunate that Altadonna “can’t maintain his own schedule” even with a dozen town employees working for him.
“He has missed hundreds of events in recent years […] and is only now motivated to attend events due to his desire for higher office,” said Mannion.
“The people elected me to run the town clerk’s office and not to be out every day at events,” said Altadonna in response.
Regarding Altadonna’s push on the raises, Mannion claimed that the supervisor had reduced the workforce to “its lowest level in decades” and that taxpayers are saving more annually than three years ago, when Altadonna was part of the prior administration. The town clerk refutes that claim, saying that the workforce has actually increased and parking and building fees have gone up.
“He claims he’s not raising taxes, but raising fees is the same as raising taxes,” said Altadonna.
Macagnone emphasized that he hopes voters, this November, vote for the people, not the party.
“I understand what it’s like being a leader,” said Macagnone. “If you have people who are disagreeing with you, you have to treat them with respect. There’s no leadership currently in the supervisor’s office.”