“Where’s Waldo” is a notable series of illustrated children’s books by Martin Handford. Handford would conceal “Waldo,” a character who wore a red and white striped shirt, in various amusing scenes. As finding Waldo has been a head-scratcher, so has been locating Glen Cove City Councilman Efraim Spagnoletti at times. Per a FOIL request, Spagno missed three pre-council and two council meetings in 2015. In 2016, he skipped one council meeting thus far. What caused Spagno’s absences?
Days after former Councilman Tony Gallo announced his intent to run for mayor, Spagno hid from the Mar. 10 council meeting. He was missing in action at the Apr. 21 pre-council. It was the same day the Gold Coast Beacon published “Spagnoletti’s Response Raises New Question.” Spagno seemed to place pizza over politics on Aug. 18. He was supposedly seen at a local pizzeria instead of the pre-council. As his council colleagues discussed the 2016 budget at the Oct. 6 pre-council, Spagno was away. Perhaps his most mysterious absence occurred on Nov. 24. The Beacon obtained the below photo of him at a Donald Trump rally. Social media commentators speculated that he took the “selfie” at a Trump event held that day in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. If true, why would he miss a council meeting for a political event in another state? Maybe a photo-op trumped doing his duty.
In an ideal world, Spagno would owe the taxpayer a portion of his councilman’s salary for the curious absences; however, there is no legal requirement to attend a specified number of council or pre-council meetings under the Glen Cove City Charter. The charter states, “The City Council shall meet in Council chambers on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month except June, July, August and September when they shall meet on the fourth Tuesday” (Art. VII, § C7-9).
The council should adopt an attendance ordinance for its members lest it face a runaway representative as happened in the City of Bangor, Maine.
Bangor City Councilor Patricia Blanchette moved to Florida in July, but never formally resigned from her council position and still owns a house in Bangor.
Although her term expires in November, this leaves the city council with an open seat and until then. Unlike many surrounding towns, Bangor does not have set attendance rules that determines how many meetings a councilor can miss before he or she forfeits their position. Now the city council wants to come up with new rules on absences to keep this from happening again.– “Bangor City Council Considering Attendance Ordinance,” WLBZ 9/23/2015
Until there are rules on appearing at meetings, some will continue to ask, “Where’s Spagno?”