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Islip Town Board Drops Effort to Limit Croci's Power

Residents blast board for public political struggle, say faith in council members is shaken after ordeal.

Islip Town Board Drops Effort to Limit Croci's Power

The political infighting at Islip Town Hall that captured the attention of many is now over.

On Tuesday night, the Town Board voted unanimously to drop a proposal that would strip administrative powers from Supervisor Tom Croci. Depsite the vote, several residents blasted council members for what they said is the lasting negative public image the political struggle would leave behind. 

"We are famous for disharmony on the board and really, really bad plowing. I want to take pride in my Town again. I respectfully ask we keep dirty laundry in the hamper," said Mary Calamia of Holbrook. 

Councilman Anthony Senft, the only Conservative on the Town Board, said a series of meetings between council members and Croci over the past weeks had resolved underlying issues and concerns. 

"I feel that our one-on-one conversations have eliminated some of those concerns we might have had," Senft said. "Through those meetings we have gained a greater understanding how to work as a board vis-a-vis the supervisor’s office, and the supervisor’s office to the board." 

Senft made a motion to adjourn the pair of resolutions calling for the transfer of several power from the supervisor to the Town Board including the hiring and firing of personnel, contract negotiations, purchasing powers and other administrative duties before the public hearing. 

The measure was seconded by Councilman Steven Flotteron, a Republican. 

"The opening of our government to our residents in every way is good government," said Flotteron. "I recognize the improvements we can make in ourselves for the community. It can be worked out without changing Town code."

In addition, with the Town Board voting unanimously to adjourn the public hearing, Town attorney Robert Cicale said doing so would "close the book" on these matters. 

Croci thanked his colleagues as he received a standing ovation and shouts of "we've got your back" from some residents. 

"I was confident the good judgement, prudence and integrity of my fellow board members would see us through," Croci said.

"Every resident should know they — you — run this government through the people you elect. Their vote — your vote — will never be taken away from any outside influence in this Town." 

Despite what some called the effort to "usurp" power being dropped, a number of residents publicly criticized the board's actions during a public comment period. 

"I say again the way you handled this proposal has precluded any meaningful discussion on the matter and turned this instead into a distracting political spectacle," said Charles Trupia, of Ronkonkoma.

Some residents also claimed the public way the board's dispute was carried out has left Islip with a negative image. 

Croci asked residents now that the resolutions have been dropped to move forward. 

"I think [residents] should consider the matter is resolved and the Town Board will go forward to solve the tough problems that face our community," he said. 

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