HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The new Republican town supervisor in Hempstead, Long Island, says he is cutting his budget and scaling back perks, like take-home vehicles.
The keys to over 40 cars and trucks have been turned in.
“Eliminating take-home vehicles for commissioners, department heads and deputies,” Donald Clavin said.
Many of the town of Hempstead government vehicles will be offered for sale.
“Get aggressive on your bidding,” Clavin said.
Clavin, the newly elected supervisor and former receiver of taxes, says saving taxpayer money is his mantra.
“They’ve really given me an opportunity here as the supervisor of the largest township in America,” Clavin said.
But political rancor is steeped in Hempstead, controlled for more than 100 years by Republicans.
“There is no Republican machine. I’m beholden to the people,” Clavin said.
“Whenever any party rules without checks and balances for 100 years, bad things happen,” former Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen said.
Gillen was the only Democrat in more than a century to hold the top office. Clavin defeated her in November, and the town board is majority GOP.
“I’ve worked with people on both sides of aisle, and that’s something that we’re already doing here in the town,” Clavin said.
“You don’t have both sides of the aisle here, though,” CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan said.
“No, we do,” Clavin said.
Dorothy Goosby is the one lone Democrat on the town board.
“So now we have essentially returned to one-party rule,” Gillen said.
Were two years of Democratic control a brief aberration or a sign of changes to come? Some Clavin supporters hope he next sets his sights on Nassau County executive.
“Suburbs around the country are trending Democrat. Republican Don Clavin won by a narrow margin. If he is going to survive politically or use this office as a stepping stone or accomplish anything governmentally, he is going to have to find a way to reach out to moderates and independents,” political observer Lawrence Levy, of Hofstra University, said.
“People don’t vote party lines anymore,” Clavin said.
Clavin dismisses any concerns over party influence. He says he supports investigating any alleged wrongdoing in Hempstead’s building department and with controversial town contracts.