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King Sweeney-Santino feud continues in Hempstead

Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino

Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

The feud persists between Hempstead Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney and Hempstead Supervisor Anthony Santino, both Republicans.

After Republican Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino announced Tuesday that he plans to hire an inspector general to review contracts, Sweeney commended him.

“I applaud Supervisor Joe Saladino for announcing that the Oyster Bay Town Board will appoint an Inspector General to ensure accountability, transparency and openness,” King Sweeney posted on her Facebook page Wednesday morning. “About 2 months ago, I made a similar proposal for the Town of Hempstead, but the legislation was not permitted to be discussed or voted upon. I renew my call for an Inspector General and ethics reform. I just cannot fathom why TOH would not want to be forward thinking.”

By Wednesday evening, Republican Hempstead Supervisor Anthony Santino “defriended” her, King Sweeney said.

Asked about the move, Hempstead Town spokesman Michael Deery said, “We’re unaware of her being unfriended.”

King Sweeney then sent Newsday a copy of the Facebook page that shows that Santino was no longer following her.

“Maybe the Russians hacked my account,” she quipped.

“Politics is not like running for prom queen,” she said. “I don’t care how many people like me. I am simply concerned about responding to the needs of my constituents.”

King Sweeney and Santino have been clashing for months. She has refused to vote on town contracts unless Hempstead adopts a more thorough vetting process, while Santino knocked down her proposal for a town inspector general, a plan co-sponsored by Councilman Bruce Blakeman, because of a procedural error.

The idea of an inspector general first came from Nassau Democrats, who pushed for the position without success after former state Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) was convicted in December 2015 on federal corruption charges involving, in part, a county contract. Skelos is appealing.

Oyster Bay Democrats also proposed a town inspector general at a news conference in June. Supervisor candidate Marc Herman had said, “It’s a shame that we have to do this, but that’s what this administration has forced us into.”

Saladino, who crashed the news conference, interjected, “That’s a lie.”

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