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New bill would allow voters to remove elected officials of special districts

A local state senator has introduced legislation that would allow voters to remove special district officials during their terms.

News 12 Staff

Dec 21, 2020, 10:57 PM

Updated 1,275 days ago

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A state senator has introduced legislation that would allow voters to remove special district officials during their terms.
New York lawmakers want to make it easier for residents to remove elected officials of special districts, such as water and sanitation districts.
It comes as Oceanside Sanitation Commissioner Ryan Hemsley is accused of making racist and anti-Semitic posts on Facebook.
Currently, the only other way for a resident to remove a commissioner is through the Supreme Court.
State Sen. Todd Kaminsky says his bill would require the collection of 10% of the electorate or 5,000 voters and the vote of the district's board to remove the commissioner.
"This would take a large amount of signatures and a vote by that board to recall him and have the will of the people actually be a voice in the path forward in those cases," said Kaminsky.
Hemsley declined to talk on camera, but he did speak to News 12's Darius Radzius by phone. He says he doesn't believe he'll be recalled by the community.
"If you followed this story from the beginning, you can see the community is behind me almost 95%," he said.
Hemsley was elected in September and is serving a two-year term. He says some of the controversial posts from years ago are his, and others are not, claiming he was joking with friends.
"They're memes … they're not comments directed at someone," he says. "My wife is Cuban and Jewish. I'm not anti-Semitic."


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