Rob Walker, chief deputy for County Executive Edward Mangano as well as the Hicksville West GOP executive leader, took the floor at a leaders' meeting Thursday and publicly pledged his loyalty to Nassau Republican Chairman Joseph Mondello and the county committee.
The impassioned speech, which drew applause, came after Mondello gave Walker a second chance to remain one of his 73 executive leaders, Republican sources say.
It had been no secret that Mondello was unhappy with reports about Walker’s fundraising for the Hicksville Republican Committee. Walker, who runs the club, had raised nearly $800,000 since mid-2010 — more than any other Nassau GOP club except the county committee itself. Many of the contributions came from companies or principals that do business with the county.
Sources said Mondello, who has led Nassau Republicans for 30 years, had threatened to dissolve the Hicksville club if Walker, who had skipped recent leaders meetings, didn’t agree to work with the county organization.
“I’m interested in the welfare of this party,” Mondello said afterward. “That’s my job. And I will continue to monitor the situation with him and depending on how it unfolds, will determine whether I have to take further steps.”
Mondello said the county committee needs to work together because it is facing three tough state senate races this year — the re-election of state senators Jack Martins of Mineola and Kemp Hannon of Garden City, and the bid of county legislator Michael Venditto of Massapequa to replace Charles Fuschillo, who took a job in the private sector.
“Doing things right, that’s the key,” Mondello said. “I’ll see to it that he does things the right way or I’ll take the next step.”
Walker could not be reached. But his speech appears to have soothed any doubts.
“We are a united party for the good of the people,” said Jeffrey Forchelli, a prominent attorney and the Locust Valley GOP leader, after the meeting.