Hempstead town board passes controversial measures

Santino accused of undermining incoming supervisor with labor moves


The Hempstead Town Board, in outgoing Republican Supervisor Anthony Santino’s final meeting, passed a number of controversial resolutions over the objections of incoming Democratic Supervisor Laura Gillen and dozens of residents.

Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney’s proposal for an independent inspector general, to vet all town contracts for possible corruption, was shot down by a 5-2 vote, while the board voted 6-1 in favor of a similar proposal by Santino.

King Sweeney voted for Santino’s “compliance officer” proposal despite it being flawed, in her view, because it was “a good first step.”

Councilman Bruce Blakeman called Santino’s proposal a “charade” and voted against it.

“This is nothing more than a watered down version of what an inspector general should be,” Blakeman said. “This isn’t even light beer — it’s near-beer."

The board also passed a contract amendment that would prohibit future termination of civil service employees, except for cause. That is, no layoffs would be allowed.

The move was blasted in advance by Gillen, who said, at a press conference last week, “Supervisor Santino spent millions of taxpayer dollars sending out relentless mailers bragging about how he slashed the workforce, and now, after losing the election, he wants to enter an agreement that would prevent the new administration from balancing the budget during fiscal emergencies.”

The resolution passed, with Blakeman and King Sweeney voting against it, as well as Democratic Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, who generally votes along with Santino, also joining the nays, without explanation.

- More on the contentious Hempstead Town Board meeting, tomorrow at liherald.com