On Thursday Republican, Independence, and Conservative voters will choose their candidates for the 2015 mayoral and council general election. Most notably, Councilman Anthony Gallo is challenging Mayor Reggie Spinello for the Republican nomination. Even if Gallo loses the primary, he is expected to run on a new line, the so-called “Glen Cove United” party.
But we cannot discount the importance of Thursday’s primary and its implications for the November election. The Republican brand is good for at least a couple thousand votes in addition to votes garnered by the Independence and Conservative lines. These parties’ voters have an important decision to make, though fortunately it should be an easy one.
Reasonable people could have disagreed at the time on whether Ralph Suozzi or Reggie Spinello would’ve been better for Glen Cove. This applies to most recent elections. But when Spinello and Gallo are compared on the merits, the right choice for Glen Covers is as clear as day.
Mayor Reggie Spinello
The easiest analogy is to imagine Spinello and Gallo applying for the same executive position in the private sector. Mr. Spinello has been the CEO of a public company, while Gallo has not held any similar position. We don’t mean to disqualify Gallo because of his occupation as a gym teacher. Regardless of occupation, a candidate could make up for a lack of executive experience with other features such as an articulated philosophy or in Gallo’s case, legislative accomplishments.
Gallo cannot point to one legislative accomplishment in his two terms as a councilman. His lack of leadership lead to one writer labeling him “The ‘What, Me Worry?’ Candidate
.” The campaign has drawn support from folks with controversial views on police and historical events
. When confronted about the many nefarious actions by his campaign (too many to list here), Councilman Gallo has repeatedly sworn ignorance and denied recollection. His response truly has been, “What, Me Worry?”
Mr. Gallo is asking for something he has not earned in challenging the incumbent mayor, who has earned two more years.
Mayor Spinello’s success has included “holding the line” on taxes and overseeing a year that could finish with a budget surplus. When asked about what the tax levy would look like for 2016, he said it was too early to say if there would be a cut: “I am confident the residents will be pleased with the final product,” he said on the budget. Meanwhile, Spinello has been at the forefront of negotiating the two most recent contracts with the PBA and CSEA. These contracts are two key items in the City’s budget, and both times Spinello won cost-savings for taxpayers (discussed later), a blessing for future generations. Mayor Spinello deserves the support of Republican, Independence, and Conservative voters.
In addition, there will be a primary for the Independence line. Mayor Spinello along with council candidates Kristina Heuser, Nick DiLeo; and incumbents Joseph Capobianco, Pam Panzenbeck, Tim Tinke, and Michael Famiglietti have won spots on the ballot. However, the Gallo candidates have won the right to run as write-in candidates.
Famiglietti’s appearance with Mayor Spinello on the ballot signals a reflection of the success the two have had working together in bipartisan fashion since 2013.
Councilman Michael Famiglietti
Their first accomplishment together came when they served as the lead negotiators on the PBA contract, which went into effect during Spinello’s first year as mayor. Famiglietti said the goal was to preserve existing benefits to the existing force, but to make clear that the status quo would be unsustainable. “We worked as a team, we were upfront with our negotiations and we didn’t want to be hurt the police in any way,” he said. The changes–which include greater contributions into health benefits and a longer period after reaching “max pay”–are expected to save taxpayers an estimated $300 thousand per each new hire over eight years.
Famiglietti also served as a lead negotiator for the most recent CSEA contract, this time sharing the role with Councilman Joseph Capobianco. While it was understood that CSEA employees work hard and are not as highly paid, the team worked on cutting down the number of “steps” and got contributions into health benefits. Similar to the PBA contract, this change impacted new hires rather than existing employees. The changes are estimated to save close to $100 thousand over the life of each new CSEA hire.
Councilman Famiglietti is consistently an influential contributor to the council discussions, understands the importance of growth for Glen Cove, and draws from many years of business experience. He deserves the support of Independence Party voters.