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Long IslandPolitics

Dust-up over council vote in Hempstead

Did Republican Hempstead Town Clerk Nasrin Ahmad, who is running for re-election, overstep her authority last week when she refused to allow Republican Councilman Bruce Blakeman to explain his intended vote on a local issue and, instead, cast it for him?

New York State law says a town clerk’s duty is to attend town board meetings and “keep a complete and accurate record of the proceedings.”

But a video of the meeting shows that Ahmad interrupted Blakeman as he began to explain why he intended to vote against the motion.

“Councilman, Councilman, so your answer is no?” Ahmad said.

“I’m not done yet,” Blakeman responded three times.

Ahmad ignored him and went ahead with the roll call vote.

Supervisor Anthony Santino, who has been feuding with Blakeman and Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, told Blakeman, “We’re recording you as a ‘no’.”

“You’re not recording anything until I’m finished,” Blakeman objected. “This is unprecedented,” he said before shouting, “I vote no.”

Town spokesman Michael Deery said Ahmad did not overstep. “She continued to call the roll after Councilman Blakeman had cast his vote,” Deery said.

Democrat Sylvia Cabana is challenging Ahmad for town clerk.

Celeste Hadrick

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