Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen filled out her executive staff this week with hires including Cheryl Rice, the widow of a brother of Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City).
Cheryl Rice, who served previously as Kathleen Rice’s Garden City-based district director, was hired as one of Gillen’s three secretaries.
The town board on Jan. 9 unanimously approved the hiring of Rice and 11 others as executive assistants, deputy clerks and counsel. Cheryl Rice will earn $100,000 a year.
Hempstead Town spokesman Michael Fricchione said Gillen’s transition team “went through an open and rigorous interview process before selecting Cheryl and receiving unanimous, bipartisan approval from the town board.”
Rice’s duties will include coordinating and planning community events with residents and public officials.
Cheryl Rice was hired in 2006 as executive assistant to Kathleen Rice when she was elected Nassau County district attorney. Cheryl Rice was married to Kathleen Rice’s brother Laurence, who died in 2009.
Cheryl Rice worked previously for the U.S. Tennis Association, as an events manager at Suffolk Community College and as a contracts coordinator for Nassau Coliseum.
“She is both highly trusted and — if anything — overqualified, possessing a proven track record of success and service in both the public and private sectors,” Fricchione said. “We are lucky to have her.”
Gillen ran on a campaign pledge to rid the town of nepotism.
“I will bring the people of Hempstead an open and accessible government that abhors cronyism and nepotism, but instead delivers jobs to the most qualified candidates for a competitive salary, rather than staffing them strictly with friends and family members,” Gillen said on her campaign website.
“It’s ironic that we’re talking about one of the few people not related to anyone in town hall,” Fricchione said of Gillen’s nepotism pledge.