DeSena to give third State of the Town address Jan. 26

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DeSena to give third State of the Town address Jan. 26
Republican North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena applauds during her 2023 State of the Town address at Harbor Links Golf Course in Port Washington. (Photo courtesy Russell Lippai)

North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena will give her 2024 State of the Town address on Friday, Jan. 26, at Harbor Links Golf Course in Port Washington. 

This will be the third address given by DeSena at the luncheon hosted by the League of Women Voters of Port Washington and Manhasset, a nonpartisan political advocacy organization. 

DeSena, of Manhasset, became the first Republican candidate in 2021 to win the town supervisor seat in over 30 years, succeeding Democrat Judi Bosworth, who did not seek re-election. 

She then won re-election to a second two-year term in November over Democratic challenger and  former Supervisor Jon Kaiman in a contest that saw Town Republicans flip the majority of the seven-member town board 4-3. 

In the most recent election cycle, DeSena ran on cutting taxes, fixing the town’s Building Department and updating North Hempstead’s master plan.

In November the town board unanimously approved a $163.9M budget for 2024, which provided a 10% property tax cut and maintained services and programs in the town.

North Hempstead Comptroller Elaine Philips has been auditing the town’s Building Department since DeSena asked for it in July 2022 and is reportedly to be finished early this year. Ahead of Election Day in November, DeSena said in an interview with Blank Slate Media that she made recommendations to address issues in the Building Department outside of the audit, but said it was difficult to do so without the majority support on the town board, which she has now. 

DeSena also said the town’s master plan is nearly 35 years old and has not been updated since. The supervisor previously said she would like to redo the plan “very soon” and that it would help identify areas in the town that could be rezoned to build more housing. 

For the past two years, then-Council Member Veronica Lurvey recorded a response to DeSena’s address that also laid out priorities for the town and highlighted accomplishments from Democratic town board members. It is unknown at this time if any Democratic town board council member–Robert Troiano, Christine Liu or Mariann Dalimonte–will file a response to DeSena’s address. 

There are currently a number of vacancies in multiple departments in the town, some of which can be filled by the next town board meeting. 

In August, Comptroller Kristen Schwaner resigned suddenly after working in the town for four months. Schwaner’s absence left the top three positions in the town’s comptroller department open alongside two deputy vacancies. Both DeSena and Town Democrats at the time blamed each other for Schwaner’s departure. 

Director of Purchasing Moira LaBarbera also resigned in August last year. 

During its first meeting of the year Jan. 9, the town board voted to terminate multiple employees who had been working with the town before DeSena and her administration took office in 2022. 

The terminations included Deputy Commissioner of Parks and Recreation John Darcy, Commissioner of Public Safety Shawn Brown, Chief Research Assistant Jeanine Dillon, Administrative Assistant to the Town Board Rebecca Cheng, Secretary to the Commissioner of the Department of Services for the Aging Juleigh Chin and Public Information Officer Gordon Tepper.

Mitchell Pitnick, the secretary to the commissioner of finance, resigned from the town and Planning Commissioner Michael Levine retired.

All personnel actions–including hiring, terminations, resignations and retirements–are approved by a majority vote of the town board. It is unclear at this time what positions the town will fill, if any, during its Feb. 6 meeting. Personnel resolutions are included in each meeting’s agenda, which is usually posted on the Friday of the week before. 

Those interested in attending the luncheon before DeSena’s address can do so by registering by Friday, Jan. 19, at www.lwvofpwm.org or contacting Kimberly Corcoran-Galante at [email protected]. The charge per person is $45 and the lunch will begin at 11:45 a.m. with an 11:15 a.m. check-in. 

The State of the Town address is open to the public and free of charge and will begin at 1:15 p.m. It will also be live-streamed on the Town of North Hempstead’s website and Facebook page.

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