Outgoing trustee Stephen McGiff took one last shot at Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri before leaving his position at Monday’s Patchogue Village Board of Trustees meeting.
The board meeting marked the end of McGiff’s eight-year tenure after in the much-contested Patchogue Village last week on the Residents First party.
McGiff called his time on the Village board a journey, and described his leaving as God’s way of telling him to spend more time with his family.
“It was eight years - it was a privilege and an honor to serve my home town,” McGiff told Patch Tuesday afternoon. “Eight years is a long time and I'm looking at this as an opportunity and I'm excited about devoting that time that I spent to the village with my family and my law firm.”
But before officially leaving office he motioned that Mayor Paul Pontieri, Dep. Mayor Jack Kreiger and trustee Lori Devlin not have votes in matters relating to the because of campaign donations they as the Patchogue 2012 party received from the company. Tom Ferb, who also ran with Pontieri, will be taking McGiff’s seat in April.
“Village code section 40 precludes a trustee voting on an application - anyone who contributed a material gift or money in the previous 24 months,” McGiff said. “Our rational was that Tritec gave their campaign at least $3,000 cash in addition to probably over $2,000 in advertising in the .”
The motion was seconded by trustee Gerard Crean, but the voting on the motion went 2-2 with Krieger and trustee Joseph Keyes voting against and one abstention, defeating the motion. After discussion with village attorney Brian Egan, the board discussed looking to the Town of Brookhaven’s ethics board but the motion to do that was also defeated with insufficient votes.
Pontieri told Patch Tuesday afternoon that Tritec’s campaign contributions to Patchogue 2012 were $3,000, and that a section of the Ethics code says that an allowable campaign contribution to a candidate should not exceed $1,000.
However, Pontieri also added that the $3,000 is actually labeled as being split among all four of the candidates on his party, which would bring it to $750 each.
“In ours it’s very clear 25 percent all the way down,” Pontieri said.
Egan told Patch Wednesday that as the documents indeed split the contribution underneath the legal limit for each of the candidates, that it will not need to be deferred to Brookhaven’s ethics board.
Michael Sorrentino contributed to this story.
Update March 29, 10:21 a.m.: Patch erroneously reported that the board decided to refer the matter to the Brookhaven Town Board of Ethics. Village Attorney Brian Egan clarified to Patch Thursday morning that the motion to do that was defeated in the meeting due to insufficient votes. The article has been updated to reflect this.