Chelsea IrizarryDec 5, 2017, 11:12 pmDec 6, 2017, 11:11 am

Outgoing supervisor accused of ‘last-minute power grab’ in collective bargaining agreement

Town officials: proposed agreement would expand the protection of worker's rights

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WANTAGH — A feud that has been brewing for months between Hempstead Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney and Town Supervisor Anthony Santino is getting explosive over a collective bargaining agreement.

"There was an election, this is a democracy, and this is not about a power grab," Sweeney said.

The councilwoman is accusing the lame duck supervisor of abusing his power just weeks before leaving office and claims there have been attempts to negotiate changes to the collective bargaining agreement between the town and the Town of Hempstead Union.

"There is an attempt right now to get Santino loyalists to put in positions of power so he can continue to impact people's lives in the Town of Hempstead," Sweeney said.

Sweeney says the changes to the agreement would protect Santino's loyalists, and “tie the hands” of incoming supervisor-elect Laura Gillen.

In response, Gillen released a statement saying in part, "This culture of corruption in the Town of Hempstead is exactly what the voters rejected in November, and it's unfortunate that the supervisor still hasn't received that message. I will not allow outgoing Supervisor Santino to plunder taxpayer dollars from the budget by keeping his political cronies in town hall."

Town Spokesperson Mike Deery released a statement saying, "The town's administration has been negotiating with the union regarding a proposed agreement that would expand the protection of workers' rights.”

In response, Sweeney asks if that's true, why members of the board, like herself, are being kept in the dark. She says it's time for a new day in Hempstead.

“He needs to leave with class, exit with dignity and make it all okay. There is no need for 11th-hour tactics and refusing to inform the town board,” she said.

There will be a Hempstead Town Board meeting next Tuesday starting at 10:30 a.m.

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