Tom Croci

Anger, tears as board fire 35, cut Nature Preserve funding

Islp Town Hall-Tom Croci Supervisor

ISLIP TOWN—Tuesday’s Islip Town Board Meeting was filled with residents imploring the board to reconsider proposed cuts to the 2013 budget. For two hours, dozens of residents asked the board to explore ways to bring back funding for the South Shore Nature Center, the Islip Town Hatchery and the Islip Harbor Police. However, following the comments, the board finalized the trimmed down budget by unanimously voting to eliminate 35 town positions (26 full-time and nine part-time). The reduced spending plan incorporates fewer personnel and diminished town services.

“This is not what we want to do, and this has been the most difficult year of our lives,” said Supervisor Croci. “This is the bitter reality of America these days. I’d like...| read more ››

Islip Dem: Plan to hire GOPer 'unethical'


The Republican-controlled Islip Town board will vote Tuesday night on a measure to hire Islip's Republican Party chairman as counsel to the town planning board.

Frank Tantone would be paid $55,000 a year for the position of outside counsel, town attorney Robert Cicale said. Tantone would not receive health benefits or pension credits, he said.

Some towns such as Brookhaven and Huntington prohibit town board appointments from being political party heads but Islip has no such rule. Further, Cicale said the move, criticized by Democrats, is not an appointment but a professional services agreement and is legal because nothing in town code prohibits political party executives from contracting with the town.

Monday, the board resolution was amended to...|

Amid storm and cleanup, public not heard from at morning budget meeting


Town leaders throughout Suffolk County are weathering conditions and holding 2013 budget hearings. Despite damage done by two recent storms, they said they expect to approve the spending plans by the Nov. 20 state deadline.

At Brookhaven's public hearing Thursday, hundreds of people in the packed Town Hall auditorium spoke largely against layoffs in the proposed $247 million budget.

Several board members have introduced resolutions to restore staffing and programs to various departments. Craig Lucas, a building inspector and union steward, pointed out the building department is still slated to lose six full-time jobs. "We don't get much respect. We're like a stepchild," he said. "The backbone of this town is the workers. If you mess around with the backbone,...| read more ››

After promising tax cuts, Croci now looks to 65% tax increase, public for advice

Islip Town Hall

They came by email, on Facebook and Twitter, and through the postal service. Some came by phone, and others in face-to-face exchanges.

When Islip Supervisor Tom Croci recently asked town residents for input on closing the $26 million budget deficit, hundreds of residents responded.

"Hi Tom, I read your facebook message, you have every right to raise all tax payers 10-15 (dollars) per month to get out of this mess," wrote Larry Farrell, 48, a sales consultant from Ronkonkoma and registered Republican who voted for Croci. "I study my tax bill and can confirm to you that raising by this much is not a big deal at all."

As the Republican town leader works to present his first budget...| read more ››

Fired by Tom Croci, Teresa Rizzuto now with FAA overseeing airports in 7 states and Washington, DC


The former commissioner of Long Island MacArthur Airport, whose career was grounded in June when she was fired as the airport's leader, is taking off again with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Teresa Rizzuto, 51, of Bayport, begins working for the FAA at its Eastern Region headquarters in Jamaica, Queens, this week. Rizzuto will be manager for the Safety and Standards Branch of the agency's airports division, an FAA spokesman said.

She will oversee airports in seven states and Washington, D.C. Her job will be to ensure that the airports meet FAA regulations. The salary range for Rizzuto's job is between $113,000 and $175,000.

Rizzuto started an aviation career in 1992 as part of a ground crew at Kennedy Airport...| read more ››

After questions raised, Islip GOP chairman declines paid post

Islip Town Hall

The chairman of the Islip Republican Committee on Thursday declined his appointment as a paid legal adviser to the town's planning board, an arrangement critics had decried as political patronage.

Frank A. Tantone, a lawyer the Republican-dominated town board appointed to the $55,000 annual contractual position in May, said that because of Islip's "challenging [financial] times" he would likely volunteer to do the job.

"While I appreciate being selected for such a significant public service, I have notified the town attorney that in light of Islip's looming financial crisis, it sets a better example to donate my services without compensation to help the town through these challenging times," Tantone said in a statement.

In an interview, Tantone, a former...|