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New Gillen ad attacks Hempstead Supervisor Santino

Laura Gillen, Democratic candidate for Hempstead Town Supervisor,

Laura Gillen, Democratic candidate for Hempstead Town Supervisor, poses for a portrait at Rockville Links Club in Rockville Centre on, Aug. 18, 2017. Credit: James Escher

Laura Gillen, the Democratic candidate for Hempstead Town supervisor, released a new ad on Wednesday saying, among other things, that Republican Supervisor Anthony Santino’s girlfriend and sister are on the town’s payroll.

Town officials have previously confirmed that Santino’s sister Rosemarie is a secretary to the commissioner of general services.

Gillen’s ad claims that Roseann Scandiffio, who is listed in 2016 payroll records as Santino’s secretary, is his girlfriend.

The ad’s narrator does not speak their names, but the video shows a portion of the town’s payroll with their names highlighted with added notes that say “sister” and “girlfriend” pointing to their names.

Santino’s recent ethics reform law — which is currently in limbo because of an error in its public notice — bans town board members from voting on issues pertaining to immediate family members. Santino last month voted against legislation that would have banned elected town officials from dating town employees.

On Wednesday afternoon, Santino declined to comment on Gillen’s ad and Scandiffio.

“I’m not going to be giving any interviews at this time,” he said. “I have no comment.”

In a video of his induction as supervisor in January 2016, he thanked “my best friend and my life’s partner, Roseann. . . . Thank you for sacrificing so much so often so that I can always do this job to the best of my ability. Never think that I don’t realize how much you have given up for me and my career.”

Scandiffio received a $12,000 raise from the town board in December to also serve as secretary to the Joint Village-Town Aircraft Noise Abatement Committee, bringing her annual income last year to about $130,000, Newsday previously reported.

Other town board members also have family on the payroll. Councilman Dennis Dunne Sr.’s son is a plans examiner, Councilman Ed Ambrosino’s daughter was a summer seasonal employee before she resigned a year ago and Councilman Anthony D’Esposito’s mother, father, brother and sister-in-law all work for the town. D’Esposito voted for a raise for his mother, a secretary in the highway department, in March.

Gillen’s ad also says Santino voted against creating an inspector general and posting town contracts online, and accused him of “rampant corruption” amid increasing taxes.

The election for Hempstead Town supervisor, town clerk and three seats on the town board is Nov. 7.

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