The voters of the Town of Hempstead elected Laura Gillen supervisor to end the nepotism, cronyism and self-dealing that has bloated their tax bills. Now, days before he’s booted from town hall, Anthony Santino wants to hijack the future of Hempstead with a disenfranchising power grab designed to reward his loyalists, undermine Gillen’s new administration and spur his comeback.
Republicans have enjoyed a century of uninterrupted power in Hempstead, and they’ve often used that time to pad the payroll with sycophants and apparatchiks whose only goal is to keep the party in power. Now, in Tuesday’s town board meeting, Santino will attempt to blatantly redefine machine politics in a way that takes every taxpayer hostage, and booby-traps efforts to restore honest governing, all the while waving a red flag for federal prosecutors.
Santino is planning several maneuvers to tighten his hold. The most egregious is an amendment to the Civil Service Employees Association contract that says “no employee shall be terminated for reasons due to budgetary, economy, consolidation, abolition of functions, abolition of position or curtailment of activities but may be terminated only for misconduct or incompetence.” The town’s five-year contract with the CSEA, which allows layoffs, was just approved in July. Santino clearly didn’t feel a need to have a no-layoffs provision then.
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