Cuomo names Kaiman as LI storm recovery czar

Former North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman Former North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman Photo Credit: Mike Stobe

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North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman has been appointed as the storm recovery czar for Long Island, in an announcement made Thursday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Kaiman will serve as special adviser for Long Island Storm Recovery as part of the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program that Cuomo introduced Thursday at a news conference in Albany.

In the role, Kaiman will be the liaison between Cuomo and Sandy-affected areas of Long Island, and will coordinate state support for communities under the program, according to the governor's office.

"I'm excited about it," said Kaiman, a Democrat. "We have the opportunity to do really important work in the coming months."

Kaiman, 51, said he turned down on Monday a nomination to run for Nassau district court judge, a position he said he would seek in May after deciding not to run for a sixth term as supervisor.

He said he had no word on when he would start in the new position, and whether he would need to step down as supervisor to take on the state role or could do both jobs simultaneously. Kaiman's term as supervisor expires at the end of the year.

"There's no timetable at this point for when I would need to step down from supervisor, if I need to at all," Kaiman said. "Ideally I'd be able to finish the term."

If Kaiman steps down, deputy supervisor Christopher Senior would automatically become acting supervisor, Kaiman said. The town board could also vote to appoint someone to the position until the winner of the November election -- Democrat Judi Bosworth is facing off against Republican Dina De Giorgio -- takes office in January.

Kaiman said his new salary has not been released by the governor's office, but it will be more than his current salary of $133,690, and less than what he would have made as a judge.

He said he was holding off on bringing his own views to the role.

"I think at this point, it's not so much my goals, but the goals set by Gov. Cuomo and HUD [the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development] and the affected communities," he said. "This needs to be a ground-up effort, where communities are helping formulate what's best for them in terms of recovery and future migration."

A town Democratic Party official said the party recommended Manhasset lawyer Scott H. Siller replace Kaiman as its candidate for Nassau district court judge. Siller, a Flower Hill village trustee, is slated to run on the Democratic, Independence, Working Families and Green lines, the official said.

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