Hempstead Town Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney said she plans to reintroduce legislation calling for the town to hire an inspector general and publicly called for an emergency meeting to pass ethics reform.
King Sweeney said she will offer an emergency resolution to Supervisor Anthony Santino during the board’s next scheduled meeting Aug. 8. The resolution would propose hiring an inspector general to serve as an independent monitor for how town contracts are awarded and require an open bidding process.
In April, she and Councilman Bruce Blakeman had proposed the resolution, but the motion to add it to the town board’s agenda was defeated.
King Sweeney is reviving the resolution after Santino last week announced his own ethics reform package, which includes a $125,000 limit on outside income for elected officials. She said the income limit is aimed at stopping her for running for re-election. She has said she makes more than the cap would allow as an aviation attorney. She criticized Santino for not including an inspector general with his ethics package.
“I think it’s clear to everyone, based on all the events in Hempstead and Nassau County, that we need to look at our ethics procedures and it’s not clear to me what we’re waiting for,” King Sweeney said Thursday. “The supervisor has been on notice since at least March 31 that he needs to look at ethics and any efforts for transparency.”
Town spokesman Mike Deery said an emergency meeting would require a written request from two council members, but no written requests have been received from King Sweeney or the rest of the board. King Sweeney said on Thursday she’s conveyed her request for a meeting “countless times.”
The town has scheduled a public hearing Sept. 5 on Santino’s ethics reform legislation, which also includes increased public disclosure of contracts and bids, a ban on board members having authority over family members or voting on matters relating to them, and barring felons from town service.
“Supervisor Santino has proposed the most comprehensive ethics reform package of any municipal government leader on Long Island,” Deery said. “Indeed, any ethics reform that does not include limits on outside income is woefully insufficient and fails to put public service ahead of personal profit.”