Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino will step down Friday and take a $160,000 job as an administrative assistant at the Nassau County Board of Elections, according to town officials and county sources.
Santino, a Republican from East Rockaway, was defeated last month by Laura Gillen, who will be sworn in Jan. 1 as the town’s first Democratic supervisor in more than a century.
Republican Councilman Anthony D’Esposito, the deputy supervisor, will lead the town until Gillen’s inauguration.
“Supervisor Santino will step down effective Friday, December 29,” the town said in a statement. “As deputy supervisor, Councilman Anthony D’Esposito is prepared to handle any issue that may arise in the brief lapse before Supervisor Gillen takes the reins on January 1st.”
Santino will begin working as an administrative assistant to Republican Elections Commissioner Louis Savinetti on Friday, according to GOP and Democratic sources. Santino and his campaign spokesman could not be reached for comment. John Ryan, an attorney for Republicans on the Board of Elections, declined to comment.
The elections board position does not require confirmation from the GOP-controlled County Legislature.
Santino this week signed documents necessary to become a county employee, the sources said. The form was approved by Democratic and Republican election officials.
Also moving to the Board of Elections is Ellen Muller, who serves as an assistant to Nassau Republican chairman Joseph Mondello. Muller will become Santino’s assistant, making a $140,000 per year, Republican sources said.
Muller also works as a part-time clerical aide in the Town of Hempstead Parks Department. She made $20,565 in that role last year.
Santino has worked for the town since 1987. He first was elected to the town board in 1993 and served one, two-year term as supervisor at a salary of $160,000 annually.
Santino’s Election Day loss followed months of infighting among town Republicans.
GOP town board members Erin King Sweeney and Bruce Blakeman characterized Santino’s ethics reform proposals as politically motivated. King Sweeney also said Santino’s proposed $125,000 cap on outside income as a “hit job” against her because she is an aviation attorney whose income exceeds the limit.
Santino had said when his ethics reform package was passed in September that it was “opening the doors and windows of government, giving residents the transparency they deserve through unparalleled public disclosure provisions.”
Santino’s final meeting as supervisor on Dec. 12 included the town board’s passage of sweeping changes to the town’s union labor contract and 192 personnel moves that included raises, transfers and appointments.
Gillen, who had called for Santino’s resignation earlier this month before the personnel moves were approved, said in a statement Wednesday that “it’s too bad” he didn’t step down before voting for “taxpayer-funded raises and sweetheart deals for his friends and close political associates.”