Laura Gillen is the Democratic candidate for Town of Hempstead Supervisor. Supervisor Anthony Santino seeks re-election this November. Gillen shares her thoughts about Santino’s State of the Town address on Sept. 13.
“I find it deeply disturbing that two duly elected council-members in the Town of Hempstead, Bruce Blakeman and Erin King Sweeney, were not invited to today’s State of the Town address by Supervisor Santino. Their constituent’s voices, which number in the hundreds of thousands, were unfairly silenced. Furthermore, I find it even more appalling that a notice to hold a State of the Town was made mere hours before it started, was held in the middle of the day, when most people, myself included, were doing their jobs in order to pay for Supervisor Santino’s town corruption tax.
“Let me be clear, holding a ‘State of the Town’ today, without any public notification, and when most honest, hardworking taxpayers are at work, is completely par for the corrupt course. It’s sad that our local government continues to operate in secrecy, and takes every step possible to avoid answering to local residents and even to fellow members of the Board.
“Supervisor Santino will have you believe that he is slashing the costs of the government for the taxpayers, but it’s actually the other way around. As essential town employees who pick up our garbage and fix up our potholes are dismissed, Santino’s cronies and inner circle get big pay raises. There’s Santino’s senior policy advisor Matt Coleman, who received a $40,00 raise this year and makes $150,000, or Santino’s personal chief of staff, Steven D’Esposito, who also happens to the father of sitting Councilman Anthony D’Esposito. He just received a $23,000 pay hike and makes $169,000. And then there are the scores of ‘executive assistants’ working in Town Hall, all receiving $5,000 to $6,000 pay bumps this year, putting their annual salaries well over $100,000. And finally a $12,000 pay bump for Roseann Scandiffio, who is involved romantically with Supervisor Santino and is paid $130,000 as the Secretary of the Joint Village Town Aircraft Noise Abatement Committee, whatever that is.
“Santino will have you believe that he is cutting the budget and has restored the town’s credit rating. The truth is that there has never been a credit upgrade under Supervisor Santino, and to say so can lead the town to be investigated by the SEC. In fact, the administration refuses to release to the public the financial audits on the town’s budget that would allow the public to see where the Town actually stands.
“So while the honest hardworking taxpayers are told that the sacrifices they are making for the greater good, which include potholes on our roads that keep getting bigger, and garbage in our town that piles up higher and takes longer to collect, those from the supervisor’s inner circle are plundering the budget for their own personal benefit and they are doing it under the guise of fiscal responsibility.
“It is disgraceful and it will end under my administration.”