By Julianne Mosher
A statement released by Huntington Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R) last week attacked the stances of state Sen. Jim Gaughran (D-Northport) on the new bail reform and Long Island Power Authority, saying that “reasonable people can see political pandering in an election year for what it is: cheap, divisive and unproductive.”
Titled “Lupinacci to Gaughran: Do Your Homework and Stop Misleading Our Residents for Political Gain,” the release was published by Lauren Lembo, Lupinacci’s public information officer on Wednesday, Feb. 26.
“The supervisor doesn’t typically feel the need to call out political grandstanding, but he draws a line when it comes to the public being misled,” Lembo said.
His statements delve into several issues the community is facing and claim that Gaughran’s “yes” vote on the bail law is misleading Huntington residents for political gain.
“After Senator Jim Gaughran voted for the ill-conceived and not very well thought out ‘criminal justice reform’ package, which made our neighborhoods less safe, eliminated a judge’s discretion to help keep dangerous people off the streets, created a revolving door for repeat offenders, and mandated victims’ addresses and contact information be shared with defendants, the senator has ramped up his political pandering in an effort to sweep this disastrous failure under the rug,” the statement said.
Lupinacci also voiced his concern of the continuing discussion over the Northport-East Northport school district residents, where he claims Gaughran instilled fear into the town’s residents with incorrect facts.
“Pandering to the fears of Northport-East Northport school district residents, the senator waved a New York State DEC permit review report for the Northport power plant at the cameras during his press conference on January 24, but he didn’t have his facts straight when he tried to scare residents into thinking the plant was in severe violation of state and federal air pollution standards,” the statement read. “In fact, he had his facts so wrong that not only did LIPA call him out on his staff’s inability to understand the meaning of words in the DEC document describing the entire New York metro area — and not just the Northport plant.”
The state senator was quick to fire back.
“Instead of fighting LIPA’s reckless assault against taxpayers, Supervisor Lupinacci spent the last two years focused on sexual assault allegations against himself,” he said, referring to Lupinacci’s current civil suit with his former aide, Brian Finnegan, who accused the supervisor of sexually assaulting him during a trip to Albany.
Gaughran was also behind a bill in Albany that reinforces reporting requirements in certain cases of sexual harassment or human rights revelations. The senator was motivated by Huntington’s former public safety director being forced to resign after sending an inappropriate email about a female employee. Before the resignation, there were complaints by councilmembers that Lupinacci withheld that information, when it should have been reported initially.
“It’s shameful he’s more concerned with protecting himself, and now his political cronies, than the town he was elected to lead,” Gaughran added. “This sounds a lot like a statement coming from a supervisor making excuses who is about to cave in to LIPA to bankrupt our taxpayers and devastate our schools.”