Members of the Glen Cove High School rifle team were guests at the Glen Cove City Council meeting of March 9. The team captured the Nassau County Championships then went on to the States and took third place. Coach Richard Bullis and team members were given citations by Mayor Mary Ann Holzkamp, who remarked that she was bestowing this honor as both the mayor and as an honorary member of the Matinecock Rod and Gun Club. Many parents were present, and following the picture , a public hearing was held to discuss the Section 8 Administrative Plan. Fred Moore, program administrator of Glen Cove Section 8 Housing, gave a presentation, as is required annually.
Following that, the regular business meeting began, with the council approving routine resolutions, including a resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with the New York State Department of Health with regard to public access defibrillation programs. The resolution was approved unanimously, but before casting his vote, Councilman Tony Jimenez praised EMT Francine Ferrante for her hard work in getting defibrillators into police cars. "I have always been an advocate for defibrillators," he said, "but Francine was truly the driving force behind this project. We will no doubt be saving lives."
With more promises of warmer seasons to come, the council approved resolutions authorizing St Patrick's to hold its annual carnival and the Greek Church of the Resurrection to hold its annual Greek Village Festival.
At the close of the meeting, Mayor Holzkamp read a statement regarding the still-empty city council seat caused by a tie vote between Joe Gioino and Grady Farnan in the November election. The mayor said that with regard to the proper way to resolve the tie, "I requested, and have received, an opinion from our city attorney. It is his belief that the vacancy should be filled through an appointment by the mayor and city council until the general election in November. However, he has indicated that there is some uncertainty to this conclusion based on cases and statutes. Therefore, due to this uncertainty, I am directing Mr. [Dan] Deegan to seek an opinion from the state attorney general. When that opinion is received, we will proceed with the hope of resolving this situation as quickly as possible."
Her statement finished, the mayor asked for questions from the audience. Republican Party head Tip Henderson took to the podium. He began by reiterating what has gone on at the last two city council meetings, the fact that he has asked the mayor to join him in requesting a special election, and the mayor's answer that she wanted to wait until the election was certified, and was not sure if she had the authority to appoint a councilperson or if a special election was required. He questioned the timing as to when Dan Deegan formally asked for an opinion from the attorney general.
Mr. Deegan responded that he had not said he made a request from the attorney general, but the state board of elections attorney's office, and received from them an opinion that there should be an appointment. "I gave that information to the mayor, and while we take the position that there should be an appointment, there seems to be some lack of clarity. As this is a hotly debated issue, we have come to the conclusion that the prudent course of action would be to get an opinion from the state attorney general's office." Saying that as it is not a common occurrence to have a tie election, Mr. Deegan added that special elections held for state positions go on all the time; it is not so for local municipalities. "The indication we got from the state board of elections was that it would be very unlikely the governor would step in on this local affair. However, if the attorney general were to say it was appropriate, the governor might change his mind. I don't know what would happen if we just waited for the governor or how long we would wait."
Mr. Henderson asked if the mayor agreed, and she said she did. She said that she believes she does have the authority to appoint someone, which would probably result in the Republican Party suing the city, miring the government in litigation and rather than go that route, she would request the attorney general's decision. If he decides that she has the right to appoint, she will appoint someone until the next general election. If it comes back that there should be a special election, that would be done. "I made a suggestion two weeks ago that we split the term, but I understand your feelings, that you're not for that. I think the best thing for the people of Glen Cove is to go out and get a proper opinion, and whatever it is we'll abide by it on both sides."
Mr. Henderson stated he feels going this way will result in the city being without a sixth councilperson until November, which he finds neither appropriate nor proper. "I would much rather see you stick to your guns, make an appointment, then go to the attorney general and ask for an opinion. If we sue or not is another issue; it will take months and months in court if we do, but we will have a full council."
While Mr. Henderson did not say he feels the mayor should appoint, he explained that he would rather that than that the city have less than six members. He feels it is cheating the people of Glen Cove not to have full representation, be it by appointment or special election.
Mayor Holzkamp said she does not feel the people of Glen Cove are being cheated by one empty seat, as Glen Cove is not divided into councilmatic districts.
Councilman Chuck Lavine asked for clarification from Mr. Henderson. "Am I to understand that were the mayor to appoint someone, the Republican Party would not sue the city?" "I don't know," replied Mr. Henderson, "it might depend on who you appoint."
Mr. Henderson again requested the mayor join with him in going to the governor and asking him to approve a special election, stating that with both parties in favor, the governor would likely approve. Mr. Deegan responded that the state board of elections' response to him did not indicate so, but if the opinion of the attorney general concurs with Mr. Henderson, it would be the best way to get the governor to step in. He believes we should get an opinion "relatively quickly" while Mr. Henderson feels it would not happen before the summer, at which time the only choice would be to wait for the November general election, adding, "That's what's going on here."
Mr. Deegan is going to put the paperwork together and contact the attorney general within a week's time.