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Newsday letters to the editor for Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen, facing the

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen, facing the camera, presides over a board meeting at town hall on April 10. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Running the Town of Hempstead

Newsday’s Aug. 6 editorial, “Games go on in Hempstead,” ignores the fact that the Hempstead voters elected a Republican majority to run the town. The supervisor is not the head of a separate executive branch who can veto legislation, hire and fire, etc. The supervisor is essentially the presiding member of the board, having one vote out of seven to enact town law and policies. This is governed by state law that says the board collectively is the “legislative, appropriating, governing and policy determining body of the town.”

Residents did not vote to change control, they changed the supervisor, the presiding officer of the board, and increased the Democratic minority by one vote to 5-2. Thus, contrary to your partisan editorial, the “GOP board” did not “circumvent” Supervisor Laura Gillen, nor is it “disturbing” that the Republican majority is carrying out its mandate, nor is it “laughable” to ask that the supervisor consult with the board before refusing to schedule a resolution to award pay raises. The board has the authority to enact local law and policies, and to determine employee compensation.

Ronald J. Rosenberg, Old Westbury

Editor’s note: The writer is a lawyer representing the town board in defense of the lawsuit brought against it by Supervisor Laura Gillen.

In January 2017, Hempstead Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney pushed for a raise for her executive assistant, saying he works hard and deserved it.

Now, educated, hardworking people are fleeing Long Island and King Sweeney is fighting Supervisor Laura Gillen to give out more raises. It’s a perfect example of how our elected and appointed officials and the elite unions have created a wonderful, protected life for themselves.

Gary Maksym, Massapequa

The vote to postpone consideration of special elections showed it is just business as usual in Hempstead [“Hempstead Town Board puts off special election legislation,” News, Aug. 8]. Instead of playing this game, the question of how to fill board vacancies should go to a referendum. Let the people decide.

If you try to silence your constituents, we will vote you out of office. Listen to your constituents, and stop this back-and-forth nonsense. Ask former Supervisor Anthony Santino how not listening worked out for him.

Bob Diehl, Franklin Square

Town of Hempstead Councilman Edward Ambrosino faces federal charges of wire fraud and tax evasion. Village of Hempstead Trustee Perry Pettus faces charges of bribe-receiving, grand larceny, official misconduct and conspiracy. Hempstead school board member Randy Stith is under indictment for grand larceny, falsifying records and more.

What are the odds? Is there something in the water? The residents deserve better.

Rudy Rosenberg II, Carle Place

Florida county has no fees. Why not LI?

Just finished reading “Wide disparity in online tax fees” [News, Aug. 6], about differences in fees charged by municipalities for electronic payments. I also own property in Palm Beach County, Florida, and there is no charge to pay property taxes online. Why is there a fee on Long Island? It obviously is a benefit to a municipality to receive payments electronically.

Wayne Stern, Old Bethpage

President Trump loves the golf course

Taxpayers ought to recognize that we are subsidizing our president’s recreation on pretty much a weekly basis [“A swing at a working vacation,” News, Aug. 12]. I fear that the cost is seven digits-plus each time. I won’t begrudge anyone’s need for rest and relaxation, but with much at stake on the world stage, why isn’t the president using the time serving the American people? Camp David is a short helicopter ride from Pennsylvania Avenue. Oh yes, it doesn’t have a golf course.

John P. Schmidt, Ridge

Per-student spending is a flawed indicator

The state budget office is requiring 76 New York districts to show how much they spend per student in their school buildings, but cost-per-student data do not tell you how a school spends its money [“Push to finish school spending reports,” News, July 30].

What are transportation costs per mile or costs to run buildings per square foot? Do districts have too few teachers or too many administrators? You need to compare these items for your school and other schools. Then you come up with best-practice standards to measure how efficient your school is compared with others in your county, state or region with similar demographics. This is the only true way to review spending.

School districts spend based on what the public gives them. They compare with what they spent last year, but is that amount to high or too low? Some districts balk at sharing this data. Why? I believe they do not want you to know. If you cannot compare, you cannot truly manage.

John Stype, Cutchogue

Editor’s note: The writer is a former insurance executive who worked on best practices in that industry, and is now a legislative aide to Suffolk County Legis. Al Krupski.