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City Fires Supervisor, Beach Uproar

The City of Glen Cove entered into a contract agreement for purchase of land for the construction of a new public water supply well, adjacent to an existing pump station on Duck Pond Road, authorized by the city council at last week’s meeting. The city will purchase the land from Frank and Kathryn Casale for $1 million.

 

The council voted 5-1, with one abstention, to terminate city employee Kevin Monahan for submitting 12 hours of overtime pay for cleanup after Superstorm Sandy on a day when he did not work. The dismissal is effective Feb. 22. Acting as hearing officer in disciplinary hearings, Eric T. Wingate, Glen Cove Housing Authority executive director, found Monahan guilty on three of the four charges regarding submitting a false document for 12 hours of overtime, in the amount of $1,175.03, for clean-up in Long Beach after Hurricane Sandy on Nov. 25, 2012. Wingate determined Monahan was not in Long Beach on that day, nor did he perform any work in connection with the storm.

 

Councilman Anthony Jimenez voted against Wingate’s recommendation to dismiss Monahan from his job, stating he felt it might be better to dock his pay, take away his leadership position and possibly his union benefits rather than fire him. Councilman Michael Famiglietti abstained.

 

The discussion got heated during the public comment period regarding the topic of Crescent Beach. Councilman Anthony Gallo, Jr. mentioned legislation that he and Councilman Reginald Spinello wrote to clean up cesspools that might be leaching into the water at Crescent Beach. A resident who had expressed concern at pre-council meeting in April, said he had since spoken to several legislators at the state and county level, and looked into what states with similar problems have done.

 

“A lot of the properties may have cesspools that the homeowners don’t even know about,” said the resident. “The idea of a sewer is great but it might not remedy the problem if there are derelict cesspools as well as a rising water table. If you require property owners to clean up their cesspools, you could get this done this year.” He said all it would take was the proper initiative from the city council, and that it would not have to cost taxpayers anything, adding the city could put a lien on the property of homeowners who do not comply.

 

Mayor Suozzi and City Attorney Vincent Taranto both emphasized that the city has been working hard to determine the source of the contamination for years and is trying to reach a solution. Since the cost of sewers is so high, another possible long-term solution could be to create a local septic system for residents. In the short term, the city is offering households more aggressive pump-outs. 

Kristina Heuser, along with Councilmen Spinello and Gallo, questioned what the hold-up is with the proposed legislation.

“I think it has some teeth to it,” said Spinello. “This should not be an adversarial thing. I just want to get it resolved.”

 

Taranto said he was looking into the constitutionality of going onto property without probable cause. He indicated the proposed legislation was somewhat weak.

 

“Legislatively, what can we do?” asked Gallo. “We need your legal advice.” He added, “Five years is way too long,” referring to the fact that this will be the fifth summer that the beach will be closed.

 

“Are there plans to make the legislation more robust?” asked Heuser.

 

Suozzi said they are in the process of conducting a study so they can try to get federal grant money. Because there are multiple jurisdictions involved, he said they “need to put a frame around the scope of the problem.”