Hempstead Town Board members will vote on appointing Thomas Muscarella...

Hempstead Town Board members will vote on appointing Thomas Muscarella to the board. Credit: James Escher

Hempstead Town Board members are planning to vote Tuesday on appointing Thomas Muscarella to former Councilman Edward Ambrosino’s seat.

Republican board members submitted an agenda item proposing Muscarella fill the council seat through the end of the year. Ambrosino, who represented the town's 2nd District, was convicted last week of tax evasion and resigned.

Muscarella, 59, of Garden City, is vice president of the Plainview-based Archer Associates Insurance.  He is from a political family: One brother, Joseph Muscarella, is an Oyster Bay Town councilman; another brother, Vincent Muscarella, is a Nassau County legislator.

Muscarella was nominated by Nassau Republicans to run for Ambrosino’s seat against Tom Tweedy of Floral Park, who is a Republican running on the Democratic line. The 2nd District includes Bellerose Terrace, Floral Park, Garden City, New Hyde Park, Salisbury, South Floral Park, Stewart Manor, and portions of Bellerose, East Meadow, Elmont, Franklin Square, Hempstead, Uniondale and West Hempstead.

Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen has called for a special election to fill the vacant seat. She said the appointment would give Muscarella an eight-month advantage as an incumbent before running for a full term. She asked board members last week in lieu of a special election to make an appointment of a council member not running for office in November.

Gillen said an appointment of somone who would run as an incumbent would be “disgraceful and un-American."

The five current Republicans on the board were initially appointed to their seats before eventually running for election. Gillen and senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby joined the board after first winning elections.

“This proposal is unquestionably a move to unfairly influence the outcome of the November election. It grants unearned incumbency to the Republican machine’s declared candidate and disenfranchises every resident in the district from choosing their own representative,” Gillen said.

The board's Republican majority said they do not want an empty seat.

“State law provides for appointments so that town board seats are not left vacant and residents remain represented," the board members said in a statement. "The cost of a special election would be prohibitive, especially in this case where there will be an election for the seat in November."

Muscarella did not return calls for comment. 

Tweedy said the position should be chosen by taxpayers. 

"The Hempstead GOP machine is again circumventing voters and continuing their corrupt pattern of selecting instead of electing another party crony," Tweedy said. 

The town board is scheduled to vote during its 10:30 a.m. meeting Tuesday at Hempstead Town Hall. Muscarella needs a majority vote to be appointed. 

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