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Hempstead councilman to represent himself in lawsuit

Hempstead Councilman Bruce Blakeman, seen here on Nov.

Hempstead Councilman Bruce Blakeman, seen here on Nov. 15, 2016, said he will represent himself in a lawsuit filed by Supervisor Laura Gillen. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

Hempstead Town Councilman Bruce Blakeman said he will represent himself in a lawsuit filed by Supervisor Laura Gillen last month against former Supervisor Anthony Santino, the town board, its civil service commission and its union.

Blakeman, an attorney who serves as Gillen’s deputy supervisor, announced his decision Tuesday in a news release, saying he didn’t want to cost taxpayers more money.

Gillen’s lawsuit seeks to overturn personnel changes and a no-layoff union agreement approved by the town board during Santino’s final meeting in December. Blakeman voted against both measures.

The councilman also said that even though he agreed with Gillen’s position that the no-layoff clause is a “danger to the town’s fiscal condition,” he didn’t feel a lawsuit was “the proper way to proceed” and would prefer that the parties negotiate a solution with the union.

The town board voted 5-1 last month to hire Bee, Ready, Fishbein, Hatter & Donovan LLP to represent Santino in the case.

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