Hempstead Town Councilman Anthony D’Esposito said he has been hired at the Nassau County Board of Elections as a $100,000 administrative assistant whose focus will draw on his experience as an NYPD detective to deal with polling place security and elections cybersecurity.
D’Esposito, a Republican from Island Park, began working at the elections board on Monday, he said Tuesday. He said he will be a “90 percent” employee so he can take time off for town board meetings.
There is no law preventing elected officials from working at a municipal board office — even in a role where they could count ballots for their own election, according to State Board of Elections spokesman John Conklin. The state board has no say in the hiring decisions of local boards of elections.
The hire is not without precedent; three former Oyster Bay GOP town board members held the dual positions during their terms.
Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen, a Democrat, called for D’Esposito to refuse his new job or resign from the town board.
“It is wholly unethical and a clear conflict of interest for Councilman D’Esposito to continue serving in his elected capacity while he accepts a plum, six-figure patronage job from his political party,” Gillen said in a statement. “America’s largest township deserves and requires more than ‘10 percent’ of the councilman’s time.”
Democrats on the elections board have “serious concerns” about D’Esposito’s job and plan to raise the issue with Republican leadership, according to a source familiar with the issue. Democrats do not plan to hire someone with D’Esposito’s same job description for their side.
D’Esposito said there is “no conflict of interest” between his two positions and promised to recuse himself from town votes concerning the elections board. He will receive a county pension but not health benefits.
“Residents whom I represent on the town board can expect the same level of dedication and service from me that I have always brought to the job,” he said in a statement.
D’Esposito, who won his bid for re-election in November for a four-year term, has been on unpaid leave from his job as an NYPD detective since his appointment to the town board in 2016. He said he will retire from the NYPD and plans to defer collecting his police pension. His town board salary is $71,000.
D’Esposito said his duties will include researching polling place security in the wake of increased school shootings and working with school districts that host polling places to make them safer.
“The viability of our electoral process, as well as the sanctity of voting data, demands vigilance and competence in the areas of public safety, cybersecurity and investigations now more than ever before,” he said in a statement.
D’Esposito and three other hires — including ex-Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino — added $540,000 in new salaries for the elections board since December.
With Robert Brodsky and Celeste Hadrick