More than a dozen resolutions were passed at last week’s Glen Cove City Council meeting, including the appointment of members of the city’s new Charter Review Commission, the hiring of a new public relations officer and the hiring of special counsel to assist the council with the Villa Project.
The 12 members are Carolyn Wilson, David Nieri, Joseph Fiorino, Vincent Hartley, John Charon, Anthony Jimenez, Michael Bruschini, Eve Lupenko, Robert Germino, Glenn Howard and John Hanley.
The city council unanimously agreed to enter into an agreement with the law offices of Sive, Paget & Riesel, P.C. to serve as special counsel to the city council for the Villa Project, for a fee not to exceed $15,000.
“Doing this is right for the city,” said Mayor Reginald Spinello. “This administration is taking the necessary steps to ensure that we follow the correct procedure.”
Several residents raised concerns about this agreement, while others said they thought this was a good move.
“While I hope you really do have good intentions, this was not budgeted for,” said Marsha Silverman. “This city is in financial distress…I urge the council to scrutinize every budget item.”
“Have the developer pay to save the Villa Project,” said Marie Rummo. “That would be fair.”
“We’re hiring them because we want some guidance,” Spinello responded. “We’re taking our time and doing it right.”
After hearing the comments, all seven council members voted in favor of the resolution.
“The city council has been challenged for many months in coming to a conclusion on this project,” said Councilman Tony Gallo. “I believe hiring a law firm gives us more liberty in where to go from here.”
Councilman Efraim Spagnoletti concurred, adding, “At the end of the day, the city council will make the decision.”
“We’ve asked for independent counsel to come in because [the project] is very complicated,” said Councilman Tim Tenke.
The council also voted to accept the bid of S.C. Specialty Food Group, Inc., based in Bethpage, to operate concessions at Morgan Park, Pryibil Beach and John Maccarone Memorial (City) Stadium.
Spinello said they only received one bid, which is $13,000 for the season, plus $500 for utility charges per location.
“It’s a pretty good deal for the city,” Spinello said.
Spinello also said that former chief of staff Zefy Christopolous resigned last month, and the council voted to hire Lisa Travatello Curran as public relations officer at an annual salary of $60,000, effective April 15.
During the public comment period, Ron Menzel, who has been vocal in recent months about the lease issues with the Glen Cove YMCA, commented on a letter written by Spinello, published on www.glencoverecordpilot.com.
“We’re not employees of the Y or volunteers, we are here because we care about the Y and want to support it,” Menzel said. “We are not troublemakers. We want the Y to stay in Glen Cove.”
“I have done all I could and made my decision clear,” Spinello said. “The Y is not city business and we will no longer address it at the meetings.”
At the very end of the meeting, Cindy Hill attempted to read a letter written by the YMCA in response to the mayor’s letter; a police officer was sent to stand by her side as she addressed the mayor, and he cut her off and ended the meeting.
The letter, which can be viewed at www.ymcali.org/glen-cove/official-response, seeks to clear up some claims made in the mayor’s letter, which had also sought to “set the record straight” about the issues and city’s involvement.
The YMCA of Long Island response lays out some “truths” to the mayor’s claims, including the reason for the disbandment of the advisory board and the motives of the LI-Y.
The mayor wrote: “The Glen Cove Y is a critical part of the group of YMCAs on Long Island because its profitability helps offset losses to other facilities. So, instead of reinvesting all of the profits from our Glen Cove Y in the Glen Cove facility, the LI-Y has decided to use a substantial part of our local money for non-local purposes.”
The Y responded: “The YMCA at Glen Cove is indeed important to our association…Over the last 11 years, the LI Y has given/loaned more than $2 million to the YMCA at Glen Cove. In fact, should the Neighborhood Association provide a long-term lease, the LI Y has plans to invest millions more into the facility.”