The Town of Hempstead Board appointed Nasrin Ahmad, the Republican candidate in the race for town clerk, to the post at its meeting on Tuesday. Democrats are speaking out against the appointment, with one Democratic Party spokesman calling it “a blatant attempt to bypass democracy.”
Town spokeswoman Susan Trenkle-Pokalsky confirmed that the board voted 6-1 to appoint Ahmad, an administrative supervisor who has worked in the clerk’s office for more than a decade. The board’s six Republican members voted for Ahmad’s appointment, and its sole Democratic representative, Dorothy Goosby, cast her vote against it.
Ahmad succeeds First Deputy Town Clerk Phil Guarnieri, who assumed the clerk’s role when Bellmorite Mark Bonilla was ordered to vacate the office last month after a recent criminal conviction.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent a letter to Town Supervisor Kate Murray on Aug. 8 in which he stated that he was notified by Nassau County District Court Clerk Kenneth Roll of Bonilla’s criminal conviction of one count of official misconduct in July. The charge related to actions that the former Republican clerk took after a former employee accused him of sexual harassment.
Nassau County Republican Committee spokesman Anthony Santino, who is a Town of Hempstead councilman, previously said that Ahmad was given the Republican nomination in the upcoming election because she has extensive experience in the clerk’s office and has been active in her community. Mike Deery, the town’s communications director, said she was appointed for similar reasons. “Ms. Ahmad was appointed town clerk based upon her significant background and expertise,” he said.
Ahmad, of Salisbury, received the Republican nomination for clerk in May. Deery said her candidacy did not affect her eligibility for the appointment because no one being considered for an appointment would be disqualified from consideration based upon his or her political activities. That, Deery added, would be discriminatory.