Challengers took aim at North Hempstead Town incumbents, with attacks about ethics and former Town Democratic Party Leader Gerard Terry, at a Tuesday debate hosted in Manhasset by the League of Women Voters.
Candidates for supervisor, town clerk, the Fifth Council District and several Nassau County Legislature districts took to the podium to answer questions submitted by the audience.
Stephen Nasta, a former NYPD inspector who is running for town supervisor, spoke about the lack of trust in local government, especially after Terry’s indictment on state and federal income tax evasion, in September 2016 and January 2017, respectively, for debts exceeding $1.4 million.
Terry pleaded guilty last week to federal income tax evasion.
Terry had served as counsel to the town attorney’s office, in addition to multiple other public jobs, until last summer. His wife, Concetta Terry, resigned from her job in the town clerk’s office last June after being cited by the town ethics board for failing to disclose debts in her financial disclosure forms.
“What I see in the Town of North Hempstead is something that really has to be addressed,” said Nasta, 71. “We have to cut down on the waste in government, and a lot of it is caused by politically unethical people who try to maneuver government.”
By town law, elected officials and candidates were required to submit financial disclosures. All five of the challengers have yet to file disclosures and now have until October 30 to file, said town spokeswoman Carole Trottere.
Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth, 69, of Great Neck, who is running for a third two-year term, touted the town’s focus on openness and transparency, mentioning the revised ethics code and new anti-nepotism policies passed last March.
David Redmond, 31, a consultant from Mineola who is challenging Town Clerk Wayne Wink, said that it was hard to imagine that Terry didn’t have a negative influence over the rest of the town and its employees.
“It’s time for new leadership,” he said.
Other topics discussed Tuesday included the Town Building Department’s efficiency, candidate stances on term limits and the town’s difficulty with civil service titles. The Nassau County Civil Service recently investigated the town and determined that a former employee, Kim Kaiman, was working out of title.
“We have an issue with the civil service,” Bosworth said. “Some of these titles are in great need of being redone.”