Hundreds of people crowded Massapequa High School on Jan. 6 for the swearing-in of the Town of Oyster Bay’s newest government officials. Councilwomen Vicki Walsh and Laura Maier, Town Clerk Richard LaMarca and Receiver of Taxes Jeffrey P. Pravato all received rousing ovations as they took their oaths.
Incumbent Supervisor Joseph Saladino, beginning his second term, and Councilman Steve Labriola, beginning his first full term, celebrated their re-elections alongside their new colleagues, and all six spoke of their readiness and willingness to do what is best for the town in the coming years.
“This new team at Town Hall is working together to move the Town of Oyster Bay forward,” Saladino said. “Just three years ago, I had the fortune of being this great town’s supervisor, and worked hard with our town board to return fiscal stability and accountability to our town, as well as restore the trust of residents. This new town board is a dream team of dedicated women and men, and we will continue to achieve meaningful results while providing the highest level of services and improving the quality of life of our residents.”
Walsh said that community outreach would be among her top priorities. An agent with Laffey Real Estate, she has already joined a number of chambers of commerce around town to get an idea of what different communities are looking for from town officials. She has also given residents the opportunity to reach out to her, spending roughly six hours a day discussing their issues.
“Right now, I want to listen to residents,” Walsh said. “That’s how I want to start.”
She plans to make her outreach even more substantial with a listening tour beginning March 16. Starting in Hicksville, Walsh will visit community associations twice a month for question-and-answer sessions, inviting residents to share their thoughts and concerns with her. She plans to meet with PTAs, seniors and civic associations and host community meetings as well.
Oversight, Labriola said, would be a key priority for him. He plans to form committees to oversee the various facets of the town’s bureaucracy to ensure that department heads are serving the town well, and to find ways in which their departments can work more efficiently. He said he would also prioritize the revitalization of several downtowns — in particular, Hicksville and Massapequa.
On the North Shore, Labriola has been working with the town’s parks department to establish more dog-friendly “parklets,” which he plans to continue this year. He said he would also continue to focus on making the hamlet of Oyster Bay more accessible to residents and outsiders alike, with enhanced parking and street improvements. With all this in mind, Labriola said, he would continue to help the North Shore maintain its natural and historical heritage, something that he knows residents hold dear.
“Our team is moving Oyster Bay forward with 20-20 vision focused on every resident and every corner of this great town,” Saladino said. “We are committed to keeping taxpayers first and foremost in our minds, and will continue to look at new ways to cut costs while ever improving town services.”