Town board member: Ethics reform plan is a 'hit job'

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HEMPSTEAD -

Hempstead Town Board member Erin King Sweeney says she believes an ethics reform package put forth by the Hempstead town supervisor Friday was designed to oust her from her position. 

Supervisor Anthony Santino laid out a plan that would cap outside income for Town Board members to $125,000, saying the package was designed to guard the public against corruption and conflicts of interest. 

King Sweeney is an aviation attorney who earns in excess of that amount.

"What the supervisor is doing is a sideshow. It's nothing more than an attempted political hit job designed to silent independent voices and consolidate power," she said. 

Santino and King Sweeney have sparred for months. The councilmember has repeatedly called on the town to create an inspector general position to oversee the town's contracting process. It was not included in the ethics reform package that was put forth.   

On Friday, Santino insisted the proposal is not targeting anyone.

Political analyst Michael Dawidziak says the dispute between Santino and King Sweeney is somewhat surprising in that Nassau Republicans rarely criticize each other in public, especially in the Town of Hempstead.

"Hempstead is the center of power in Nassau. It has over 50 percent of the residents…it's been the center of power for the Republican Party, as well," he said. 

King Sweeney is now calling for an emergency session of the Town Board to discuss Santino's proposal. Hempstead lawmakers are currently scheduled to hold a public meeting on the issue on Sept. 5.

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