Laura Gillen for Hempstead supervisor

Newsday

Anthony Santino was given the keys to the kingdom. Unfortunately, in his first two years as Town of Hempstead supervisor, a job he coveted for decades, Santino slammed the door shut behind him.

After Kate Murray made the ill-fated decision to run for district attorney in 2015, the way was cleared for Santino, a longtime board member and a Republican Party official to take charge. And he did, like a dictator.

His open feuds with fellow GOP board members have exposed the seamier workings of town government. Santino does not consult with some board members and gives them little opportunity for input. He has used his gavel and control over the microphone at public meetings to shut down debate. Still, Santino, 56, of East Rockaway, has stabilized finances after his predecessor eliminated almost all of the reserves. He also has cut the town payroll by 7 percent and reduced overtime. The budget is in better shape, although the bond rating is still too low.

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