Republican Kate Murray, the outgoing Hempstead Town supervisor who lost her bid for Nassau County district attorney last month, has been offered a job as general counsel for Nassau Community College.
NCC trustees voted 6-2 Tuesday night to offer Murray the job of general counsel for government affairs.
The vote comes a month after some board members questioned whether the position, which involves lobbying state and county lawmakers for funding, should be filled as the school grapples with funding shortfalls and the search for a full-time president.
“To find someone with the depth of experience and skill set that matches the needs of the college is an extraordinary stroke of luck for Nassau Community College and the residents of Nassau County,” said Jorge Gardyn, chairman of the board of trustees.
Gardyn said that because NCC relies heavily on county and state funding, it is essential to have someone who can advocate for the college. NCC’s annual budget is about $215 million.
The job offer, which was not listed on the board’s public meeting agenda, was approved hours after Murray presided over her last Hempstead Town Council meeting.
Murray, who has served as town supervisor since 2003, ends her tenure at the end of the month, following her unsuccessful run for Nassau district attorney against Democrat Madeline Singas in November.
Murray, who made $160,000 as supervisor last year, did not return several calls for comment Wednesday.
The counsel’s position opened in September after Chuck Cutolo notified college officials that he planned to retire by January. Cutolo earned $151,000 last year, and Murray would make the same, Gardyn said.
After learning of Cutolo’s retirement at last month’s trustees meeting, two board members questioned whether the position needed to be filled.
Trustee Kathy Weiss, who voted against offering Murray the job, said the school’s administration should consider delegating some of Cutolo’s responsibilities to other employees.
“I don’t think just because somebody is leaving that we have to or should replace that position,” Weiss said at the November meeting. “I think we have an obligation as we look at not filling some of our faculty positions, full-time faculty, that we look at not filling administrative positions.”
Trustee Anthony Cornachio at the time said: “I share Dr. Weiss’ thoughts.”
On Tuesday, Cornachio introduced the resolution to hire Murray, saying in a phone interview she was widely known in state and local politics, and would be a “good fit.”
Trustee Donna Tuman, and student trustee Jennifer Borzym also voted in favor of Murray. Arnold Drucker, who donated $400 to Singas’ campaign, voted against Murray. Wanda Jackson abstained.
Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs criticized NCC trustees for offering Murray the job without a public vetting process.
NCC “is one of our county’s best assets and if anyone thinks it should be landing ground for political appointees who need a job without qualification for the position, they’re making a terrible mistake,” Jacobs said.
CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this story omitted the first name of NCC trustee Anthony Cornachio.