Former Island Park Fire Chief and NYPD Detective Anthony D’Esposito was appointed Tuesday to fill the Hempstead Town Board seat of newly elected Supervisor Anthony Santino.
Town Board members tapped D’Esposito, 33, to fill the remainder of Santino’s term until a special election is held in November. He will represent Hempstead’s 4th District, which includes Island Park, Oceanside, East Rockaway, Hewlett, Rockville Centre and South Hempstead. His district also includes sections of Baldwin, Cedarhurst, Lynbrook, Malverne, Valley Stream and Woodmere.
D’Esposito, a Republican, is a lifelong Island Park resident. He resigned his post as fire chief last year after leading the department and village back from the damage of Superstorm Sandy. He is the son of Island Park Deputy Mayor Stephen D’Esposito and graduated from Hofstra University in 2004.
D’Esposito has also served as a New York City Police Department detective in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn for 11 years where, town officials said, he has made more than 600 arrests, investigating shootings, robberies and homicides.
He is taking a leave of absence of up to one year and said he is committed to running for the council seat on the Republican ticket in November.
“This is something I’ve always had a passion for,” D’Esposito said. “The opportunity was offered and you have to take these opportunities or you might regret it.”
The appointment marks D’Esposito’s first political office, but he has been active in Hempstead town affairs and the Nassau County Republican party. He served as a liaison to Island Park during Hurricane Irene and superstorm Sandy when the firehouse functioned as village hall and a hub for mobile town services.
He said he will learn from Santino’s outreach to residents to bring youth to the town board and make town services more accessible. He said his top priority is to continue to work for federal storm protection.
“On a whole, local government seems distant to young people trying to establish a home and I’ll try to make my office a bridge to local government,” D’Esposito said.
The Hempstead Town Board members appointed D’Esposito unanimously, but Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby objected to his appointment without an election.
“He does have the qualifications of a great councilman, but I object to the process of choosing a representative without any input from residents of that district,” Goosby said. “This is not voted on by the people who live there and this is a very undemocratic process.”
Santino said state law requires the board fill his vacancy through an appointment or leave it vacant until the next election.