Muscarella sworn in as Hemspstead's newest town council member

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HEMPSTEAD -

Tom Muscarella was sworn in Tuesday afternoon as the newest member of the Hempstead town council.

The GOP-controlled Town Board voted along party lines to appoint the Garden City Republican to fill the seat formerly held by Ed Ambrosino, who vacated his position after pleading guilty to tax evasion earlier this month. But the appointment is not sitting well with everyone.

"Anointment by appointment is wrong in very many ways," says Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen, a Democrat.

She says Republicans are playing politics by choosing Muscarella, who was already the Nassau GOP's candidate to run for the seat in November.

Every current Republican council member in the Town of Hempstead was first appointed to their position before winning election in their own right. And Gillen says that's proof that the incumbency provides a clear advantage.

Republicans argue that residents of the town's 2nd Council District need a voice at the table now, and appointing a candidate is par for the course in Hempstead and across the state. Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney says U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, both Democrats, were also appointed.

Some residents say they think a special election should have been called instead.

Muscarella will be challenged in November by former Floral Park Mayor Tom Tweedy, who is running on the Democratic line for the council seat.

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