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King Sweeney breaks with her GOP colleagues in Hempstead

Hempstead Town Board member Erin King Sweeney at

Hempstead Town Board member Erin King Sweeney at Hempstead Town Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. Credit: Barry Sloan

Hempstead Town Board member Erin King Sweeney broke with her Republican colleagues twice in a row this month to vote against routine personnel resolutions on every town calendar — violating the GOP’s usual lockstep voting in an apparent slap at Republican Supervisor Anthony Santino.

“It was a vote based on principle and I am sure my colleagues would understand that,” King Sweeney said without elaboration.

Sources say King Sweeney, the daughter of Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), is protesting pay raises Santino has given his inner circle while refusing to increase the $59,680 annual salary of King Sweeney’s executive assistant.

Santino raises include a $40,306 increase for senior policy adviser Matt Coleman, bringing his salary to $150,000; a $23,278 hike for Chief of Staff Stephen D’Esposito, upping his pay to $169,000; and $5,000 to $6,000 raises for several secretaries and executive assistants, putting their annual pay well over $100,000. Last week’s personnel resolution included another $12,000 pay bump for secretary Roseann Scandiffio to also serve as secretary to the Joint Village-Town Aircraft Noise Abatement Committee, boosting her annual earnings to $130,185.

“I don’t comment on people’s personal HR [human resources] matters,” King Sweeney said when asked whether she was protesting her aide’s stagnant salary. “Everyone is entitled to receive a fair pay for good performance.”

Town spokesman Michael Deery said the raises were justified because of the additional responsibilities required of the supervisors’ staff.

Sources say the protest over pay raises is just part of a growing feud between Santino and King Sweeney, who has angered Santino by attempting to take actions in her district without first getting his approval. Her district includes Lido Beach and Point Lookout and portions of Baldwin, Bellmore, Freeport, Merrick, Seaford and Wantagh.

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