Riverhead ZBA spot opens after ethics issue

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Former ZBA member Charles Scalfani at his last meeting last Friday.

There’s a vacancy on the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals, as seven-year member Charles Sclafani has resigned in light of a town ethics code dispute.

Mr. Sclafani, a retired corrections officer appointed to the board in February 2005, resigned effective last Friday, the day after his last ZBA meeting. In his letter of resignation, submitted to Supervisor Sean Walter on May 2, he said his decision was “due to the Riverhead ethics board ruling on what they believe is a conflict of interest and which I do not.”

Mr. Sclafani owns a company called CJS Tax Service which, among other things, handles tax grievances for clients within town. The ethics board said either the company can’t do tax grievances in Riverhead or Mr. Sclafani can’t be on the ZBA. He reluctantly chose the latter.

“They’re 100 percent wrong, but I don’t have the finances to challenge it,” Mr. Sclafani said last Thursday.

In 2010, Mr. Sclafani found himself in the middle of a controversy after two Town Board members questioned Mr. Walter’s decision to award a mold remediation contract on an emergency, no-bid basis to a company owned by Mr. Sclafani’s brother, Joseph. Mr. Sclafani’s wife, Carol, also works as a secretary in Mr. Walter’s office.

At the time, Mr. Sclafani publicly accused council members George Gabrielsen and Jodi Giglio of “vilifying” his family after they then voted to award another mold remediation contract to another company on a no-bid, emergency basis.

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