06/04/13 5:31pm
06/04/2013 5:31 PM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Councilwoman Jodi Giglio (right) and the rest of the Riverhead Republican nominees, from left, Mike Panchak, Laverne Tennenberg, John Dunleavy, Sean Walter, Anthony Palumbo at the committee’s nominating convention last month.

Riverhead Town Councilwoman Jodi Giglio learned today she is the only local Republican who will not be appearing on the Conservative Party line in this November’s elections.

Ms. Giglio, who has feuded publicly with Supervisor Sean Walter, a former town Conservative chairman, said she was taken aback by being left out, but wasn’t completely surprised.

She pointed to a stance she took over a $22,000 emergency mold remediation contract awarded to Servpro of Northeast Queens, owned by Joseph Sclafani, brother of Charles Sclafani, a member of the town Conservative Committee, in March 2010.

“It’s been said repeatedly that I wouldn’t get Conservative support ever since the no-bid mold contract issue,” she said. “It’s unfortunate, but I consider myself to be one of the most fiscally Conservative people on the Town Board.”

She said she was left out over policy, not politics.

“You would hope the people in a party would pick the candidate who best represents their values and principles,” she said, “And I certainly feel I fit the Conservative mold, both when it comes to policy, and value-wise.”

She said she was never asked to screen with party leaders.

The Conservatives will be backing the rest of the slate for town posts, and the Republican candidates for Assembly and county Legislature.

County Conservative Party chairman Ed Walsh, who also leads the East End Conservative groups, said the choice had nothing to do with any mold contracts.

“But everything in life has to do with politics,” he said. “There’s Anthony Coates running a primary. Some in my committee liked him. Others liked Jodi Giglio, so we left it off. Whoever wins that primary is going to win the race, so we’re not the fly in the ointment there.”

He said Ms. Giglio had been screened in the past, adding “trust me, we judge everybody on their behavior all the time. It’s an open book.”

When asked if her feuding with Mr. Walter had to do with the committee’s decision, Mr. Walsh said, “We like Sean; there’s no ifs, ands or butts.”

“But like I said, my committee is split [between Mr. Coates and Ms. Giglio].”

Mr. Coates also did not get the Conservative nod.

“As far as I’m concerned, Jodi, like the rest of the board, is very Conservative.,” said Riverhead GOP chairman John Galla. “In my book, I think Jodi is fiscally conservative. She’s voted for more than a million dollars in savings and she opposed her own salary increase.”

Mr. Galla said he had not yet spoken to Conservative Party leadership.

“I would welcome the opportunity to speak with Chairman Walsh to espouse those conservative principals that Jodi has and, hopefully, change things around,” he said.

with Tim Gannon

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02/15/11 3:09pm
02/15/2011 3:09 PM

Riverhead Town Board members had to scrap plans to name James Saladino to the town ethics board Tuesday after it became clear the appointment would violate town code because of the former Conservative Party’s leader’s continuing role as a party committeeman.

“Mr. Saladino pulled his name for consideration,” Supervisor Sean Walter said about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, a few hours before the Town Board meeting at which Mr. Saladino’s appointment would have been voted on.

He was dropped from consideration after it was brought to the Town Board’s attention that the code bars from the ethics board anyone who is “an officer or committee person of any local, county or state political party, association, club or independent political committee …”

Mr. Saladino was chairman of the town’s Conservative Party committee until recently. On Tuesday, he said he was no longer chairman but remained a committee member.

Early Tuesday afternoon, town officials weren’t sure what Mr. Saladino’s status was.

“You’re absolutely right; if he is still an officer or committee person in that party, then he certainly can’t be verified,” Councilman Jim Wooten told the News-Review when asked about the town code provision. “In any event, I think we’re going to pull [the resolution] until we get clarification.”

Mr. Saladino, who was a deputy town attorney last year before resigning in December, confirmed with the News-Review that he was “still very much a committeeman” for the Riverhead Conservatives, although no longer chairman.

“I thought what Riverhead ethics law says is you can’t be a chairman of a political committee and serve on an appointed board,” he said, adding that the Town Board probably “would pull the resolution” to put him on the ethics board. In fact, Mr. Saladino himself later withdrew his name from consideration, according to Mr. Walter.

Mr. Saladino said he’d had to step down as head of the town’s Conservative committee when he took a job as principal law clerk for Justice James Hudson in Suffolk County Criminal Court on Jan. 3.

“The rules of the chief judge in the state courts say a law clerk cannot serve on a state or county executive committee, and my spot with the town automatically put me on the Conservative county committee,” he said. “I’m just a regular committeeman but I am still very much alive and well in the Conservative party.”

Former Riverhead supervisor Phil Cardinale, who brought the matter to the News-Review’s attention Tuesday, said he and the rest of the then-Town Board passed the ethics code in November 2004, during his first term, because they “wanted to place the ethics board above politics.”

Mr. Cardinale, a Democrat, said he was glad the Saladino appointment did not appear to be moving forward, but added that the all-Republican board’s apparent oversight didn’t speak well about its “attention to detail.”

Mr. Saladino was slated to fill the ethics seat vacated Jan. 25 by Edward Bracken.

Mr. Walter, himself a former Riverhead Conservative Committee chairman, said he had thought Mr. Saladino had resigned from both posts, chairman and committee member.

After Mr. Saladino withdrew, Mr. Walter expressed disappointment that the move couldn’t go forward.

“I thought it would be neat to have a law secretary [on the ethics board],” he said.

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