Brittany ComakSep 8, 2017, 12:57 pm

Hempstead Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney threatens to sue over ethics reform plan

‘Restricting councilmembers full time earned income is an absurd idea,’ King Sweeney says

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After a contentious vote earlier this week, a member of the Hempstead Town Council says she will sue over the new ethics reform plan, calling it "arbitrary, capricious, and illegal."

The plan had originally been introduced by town supervisor Anthony Santino this past July, in an effort to promote transparency between the public and local government.

At that time, Santino said: "It's time for everyone in government to decide if they are going to put the people whom they represent above personal profits. I stand with the hardworking tax payers who call the Town of Hempstead home."

But now, Republican council member Erin King Sweeney, who is also the daughter of Republican Congressman Peter King, says this is all an attempt to keep her from getting re-elected to the town council, saying in a statement posted online Thursday: "Restricting council members full-time earned income is an absurd idea. It will discourage many qualified individuals from seeking town office, and would in no way address the real issue: the source of the income and conflicts of interest."

King herself is an aviation attorney, and she and Santino have continued to butt heads for a while now.

To add to the pressure on Santino, nonprofit group Reclaim New York, which is focused on keeping people engaged in government transparency, is also calling this move ultimately unhelpful for ethics reform, posting on their website: "The reform that was passed includes invasive and aggressive attacks against council members who have real world jobs. It does nothing to protect taxpayers from waste and abuse in contracting, and it fails to add enforcement teeth for code of ethics violations."

As for supervisor Santino, he has reportedly expressed shock, saying that King Sweeney would go to court just to keep her income a secret.

We reached out to King Sweeney for further comment but she was not immediately available.

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