Nassau Republican Chairman Joseph Mondello said Thursday he supported a failed effort by three Republican members of the Hempstead Town board to provide $100,000 in transition funds to Supervisor-elect Laura Gillen, the first Democrat elected town supervisor in more than century.
Mondello said he made his feelings known to town Republicans, including three who voted against the proposal: Councilmen Anthony D’Esposito and Dennis Dunne and Supervisor Anthony Santino, who lost his bid for re-election last week.
“My opinion was to everybody that we should cooperate with Ms. Gillen,” Mondello said in an interview. “If we can legally give the money to her, we should do it. As soon as we could legally do it, we should do it.’ ”
Mondello added, “They know my position on this. This is a time for cooperation. We’re not to stand in the way of somebody who has been elected by the people. The people have spoken.”
At Tuesday’s Hempstead Town Board meeting, Councilman Bruce Blakeman, a Republican who fought with Santino before endorsing Gillen, proposed taking $100,000 from the postage budget and providing it to Gillen’s transition team.
Republican Town board members Erin King Sweeney, who had feuded with Santino over ethics reform in the past year, and Edward Ambrosino voted for the funding for Gillen, who takes office in January. Democratic Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby abstained and the measure failed in a 3-3 vote.
Blakeman said Tuesday that he knew Mondello had “made it clear that he did not want Republicans to be obstructionists in the transition. That I was aware of.”
Said King Sweeney: “Clearly we’re in unprecedented times in the Town of Hempstead. We all, Republican and Democrat, need to pull together to make sure this transition happens smoothly. We need to remember that the bulk of the services that the Town of Hempstead is responsible for are essential — sanitation and snow removal. We can’t let petty politics get in the way of serving the people.
Santino, D’Esposito and Dunne declined to comment through a spokesman.
Gillen said, “We will be ushering in a new era of bipartisanship and cooperation.”
Mondello said, “People forget they’re elected to serve the community. I hesitate to talk like a Boy Scout, but I kind of think that way. Give her a shot. Give her what she needs.”