Home Sweet Hempstead
Why would Kate Murray leave her well-paid job at Nassau Community College to run for Hempstead Town clerk, a job she won 18 years ago, then left two years later to be town supervisor?
Asked just that question by The Point, Murray said she likes public service, running for office, and the idea of putting the turn-of-the-century Hempstead GOP band back together. She is running with the current Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin. He’s the old friend seeking the supervisor’s job whom she first shared a ticket with in 2001, when he won his current job.
“It’s been three years since I’ve been in office and while I loved the jobs I’ve had, the love of public service and helping people gets into your blood,” Murray said. Her last race was in 2015, when she decided not to run for reelection as Hempstead supervisor and instead take a shot at a county-wide race for Nassau County district attorney. She lost to Democrat Madeline Singas, who is seeking reelection.
With this kind of a move, the rumors begin to swirl about Machiavellian motives as soon as the Clavin/Murray ticket was announced, and Murray addressed them one by one for The Point.
Murray says she’s not making the run for the money, and that is clearly true. Her current job as spokeswoman and vice president of institutional advancement at NCC pays about $165,000, she said, and the town clerk job pays $129,500. She also says she’s not doing it because she was going to be pushed out at the college and needed a safe landing. With a new NCC president coming in and her GOP wielding less power at the county and state level, that may be up for debate.
Murray also says she’s not doing it to get pension credits or state benefits, both of which she has at NCC. “I’m only 56,” she said, laughing, when asked. “I have a long way to go before I think about retiring.”
She says she never considered running for supervisor this time around. Political insiders say the party wanted her name recognition, and think Town Clerk Sylvia Cabana may be more vulnerable than Supervisor Laura Gillen. That leads to at least the possibility that Murray could be clerking without Clavin come 2020. What does she think of that?
“Oh, we’re both going to win,” she said cheerily, then added, “but that’s the reality of politics.”
Thursday’s news that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo recommended former Federal Railroad Administration head Sarah Feinberg to replace developer Scott Rechler on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board highlighted the board’s missing pieces -- and the ones that are present, but, well, not quite confirmed.
Feinberg has to be confirmed by the State Senate, like Nassau County’s new selected representative, real estate executive David Mack. In the meantime, those seats remain vacant.
Those vacancies raised the question about what is going on with Suffolk County’s representative -- Mitch Pally, head of the Long Island Builders Institute -- who is also awaiting his own confirmation of sorts.
Except he’s been waiting two-and-a-half years.
Pally has been on the MTA board since 2005, when he was appointed by then-Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy. His second term officially expired in June 2016, at which point he became a “holdover” -- meaning he was allowed to continue to serve until current County Executive Steve Bellone either re-appointed him or chose someone new. But, without an official term, Pally also could be dismissed at a moment’s notice -- for any reason.
That, sources told The Point, might make Pally more cautious in what he says, or how he votes, if he wants to stay in Bellone’s good graces.
Pally told The Point he’d like a third official term. An official reappointment, he said, would give him “more stability and credibility.”
Pally’s not the only MTA board holdover. Charles Moerdler, an attorney and gubernatorial appointment, has been on the board since 2010. His term expired in 2016, too.
No word yet from Bellone on whether he wants to or plans to reappoint Pally, or whether he’s aiming to choose someone else for the spot.
Randi F. Marshall
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Debating Amazon, one week later
New York is still relitigating the Amazon departure, so it’s no surprise that the deal’s failure dominated the opening half-hour of the second televised New York City public advocate debate Wednesday night.
The only full-throated Amazon defender among the candidates, Republican City Councilman Eric Ulrich of Queens, didn’t meet the campaign finance thresholds for this crucial debate. So the seven Democrats on stage could argue over smaller distinctions.
Three of them tried to strike a more middle ground, citing positives and negatives. Bronx Assemb. Michael Blake said there were problems with the deal, “but Amazon should never have walked away.”
Manhattan lawyer and Clinton and Obama alum Dawn Smalls said she had not attended an anti-Amazon rally, and referenced the Queensbridge public housing tenants who were upset about the loss of jobs.
Brooklyn City Councilman Jumaane Williams, who like Blake signed a 2017 letter supporting Amazon’s arrival, said: “We must engage when people want to talk about 25,000 jobs.”
That was about it for voters or Amazon execs looking for a potential citywide leader who might be more open to future deals.
Former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Brooklyn City Councilman Rafael Espinal said the city should be doing more for small businesses. Queens Assemb. Ron Kim, one of the deal’s big antagonists, cited his legislation to form a multistate pact preventing similar incentives. He also approvingly (and memorably) said that “Amazon got punched in the mouth by grassroots activists,” elected officials and community leaders.
Then there was activist Nomiki Konst who went on an Amazon screed citing private jets, helipads, plus what she called the company’s dishonesty and exploitative practices.
“They should never have been welcomed here,” she said.