Former Nassau County Legis. Bruce Blakeman and Erin King Sweeney, the daughter of Republican Rep. Peter King, were appointed to the Hempstead Town Board Tuesday night despite calls for a special election.
Republican Town Supervisor Kate Murray and three GOP board members voted to appoint King Sweeney, 41, of Wantagh, and Blakeman, 59, of Atlantic Beach, to fill two vacant seats on the board. Dorothy Goosby, the lone Democrat on the board, voted against their appointments.
King Sweeney replaces Angie Cullin, who retired Dec. 31 after 28 years representing the board's 5th District.
Blakeman replaces James Darcy in the 3rd District. Darcy was appointed Monday to a judgeship in Nassau County District Court.
As town board members, King Sweeney and Blakeman will be paid an annual salary of $63,461.50 to conduct town business and attend meetings twice a month.
Both candidates were recommended by the Nassau County Republican Executive Committee and current Hempstead Board Member Anthony Santino, also a committee member. They will serve until the November general election.
Goosby called for a special election to fill the vacancies. She said the appointments didn't represent voters in all of Hempstead's districts.
"I object not to the individuals but to select representatives without any input of citizens of the district," Goosby said.
Some residents said they were not notified of Cullin's retirement and that areas of Baldwin were left unrepresented through redistricting efforts. Others said the appointments were the result of nepotism.
King Sweeney, an attorney, said she learned public service from her father, a 12-term House member from Seaford. But she said her qualifications and not her last name prepared her the board.
"I stand on my own career and accomplishments and I look forward to serving," she said before the meeting.
Blakeman, also an attorney, served on the board from 1993 to 1995. He left to lead the Nassau County Legislature as presiding officer.
Santino said state law required the board fill the seats through appointment or leave the them vacant until the November election.