Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino won in Tuesday’s election, earning 52 percent of the vote. The Republican was appointed in February to lead a town suffering from a tarnished image after corruption charges forced Supervisor John Venditto to resign.
Republicans Thomas Hand, a former commissioner of the Massapequa Water District; Louis Imbroto, a former District Court prosecutor; and Michele Johnson, an attorney, were elected to the Town Board. All had been appointed: Imbroto in March, Hand in May and Johnson in July 2013.
The Republican wins stood in contrast to a historic victory by Democrat Laura Curran, who defeated Republican Jack Martins to become the first woman county executive on Long Island.
Saladino had three challengers, John Mangelli, Robert Ripp and Dr. Marc Herman. Herman, a Democrat, garnered 42 percent of the vote. “I think we raised the bar in terms of integrity, in terms of honesty and in terms of dealing with corruption in the town,” he said. “Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.”
Saladino served in the State Assembly for 13 years before resigning from the Legislature to lead the town. “I’m so thrilled and appreciative that residents responded to our hard work, which paved the way for a new day in Oyster Bay,” he said. He added that he and Republican Town Board members had “constrained spending, reduced debt, cut taxes and implemented real ethics reform.”
Robert Freier, a Woodbury Democrat, and James Versocki, a Sea Cliff attorney, ran unsuccessfully for the board. Freier has been vocal at board meetings for the past three years, often questioning the body’s decisions. “Our team brought the very serious issues of corruption, nepotism and high taxes to the people,” he said, “and a significant number heard our message.”
Versocki, who said he believed the town is a “financial mess,” had hoped to persuade the council to conduct a forensic audit to get its finances in order. “I just hope that the new administration will truly serve the people of Oyster Bay,” he said, “which has been mismanaged for far too long.”
For much of the night on Tuesday, the county executive race was too close to call, until a series of heavily Democratic districts began reporting results, and Curran pulled ahead for good.
Both Curran and Martins campaigned heavily on anticorruption platforms, as outgoing County Executive Ed Mangano battled federal corruption charges, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
“Tonight, Nassau voted to end the culture of corruption,” Curran said in her victory speech, adding that she planned to make the county “a better place for all our residents,” and to make county government accountable to the voters “and only to them.”
Despite the Republican reign over the town, the Oyster Bay hamlet and surrounding communities elected Democrat Joshua Lafazan as their legislator. Lafazan, who was elected to the Syosset school board at age 18 in 2012, captured the seat in Nassau’s 18th District by a significant margin, almost 2,000 votes, defeating four-year incumbent Republican Donald MacKenzie.
“The people of the 18th District took a chance and elected a young guy with bright hopes for a better future for Nassau County,” Lafazan said. “I think it shows the people of the 18th District are unsatisfied with the status quo.”
Lafazan said his first order of business in office would be to introduce a bill for term limits for elected officials. “I will work my hardest day in and day out to never let you down,” he added
Eric Hawkins contributed to this story.