N. Hempstead highway super post remains vacant

N. Hempstead highway super post remains vacant
A resolution appointing Thomas Tiernan to town highway superintendent was tabled on May 19. (Photo courtesy of The Island 360 archives)

The Town of North Hempstead Town Board is not expected to fill the highway superintendent opening that was publicly posted May 23 at the June 16 meeting, according to town officials.

On the upcoming agenda, which should be posted next week, is a resolution to consider establishing a deputy highway superintendent along with four public hearings that deal with the Building Department and school bus safety.

The position of highway superintendent has been left vacant since the May 19 meeting when Town Board Democrats voted to table the appointment of former Highway Superintendent Thomas Tiernan and to remove acting Highway Superintendent Harry Weed. 

Councilwoman Veronica Lurvey, a Democrat, called for the Town Board to participate in a search in May “so we can work together to best serve the needs of our residents.” Lurvey said she hopes Tiernan “will be given every consideration as part of this search.” Since Tiernan’s original appointment resolution was submitted in May, Republican Supervisor Jennifer DeSena has also called for a search to be conducted in order to fill the position.

DeSena’s second attempt at passing her building reforms aimed at expedited permits is also slated for a public hearing June 16. Democrats in April blocked DeSena’s proposal on the grounds that it would not lead to the supervisor’s intended benefits.

The local law amending the town code would require the town Building Department commissioner to make a decision on expedited permits within seven days and remove the Town Board’s ability to override the department’s decisions.

 Another public hearing, proposed by Democrats, is slated to discuss a local law that would “make modifications to the procedure on requests for expedited permit application review,” according to the May agenda.

Both public hearings will focus on proposals to amend the same section of Town Code.

“The supervisor and I both now have public hearings that aim to improve the Building Department process for residents in the town,” Lurvey said earlier. “I hope that the supervisor, my fellow board members and I can work together between now and the next Town Board meeting when these hearings will take place to maybe think about some additional changes to these provisions and work together.”

A third hearing related to the Building Department involves legislation requiring the department to submit monthly reports to the supervisor and Town Board summarizing business conducted by the department. 

DeSena and Councilman Robert Troiano both submitted resolutions that would opt the town into a New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law. It would authorize the creation of a school bus safety program that could potentially equip every school bus in town with recording equipment that would automatically issue violations to drivers who pass a stopped school bus. 

Troiano, who is also president of the Westbury Union Free School District, said he wasn’t aware of how pervasive this problem is.

“Every year there are 17 million stopped school buses that are passed by a vehicle,” Troiano said. “In the last 10 years, 136,000 injuries have occurred to schoolchildren by virtue of going around a bus and being hit by a vehicle that should have stopped. Over the last 10 years, there have been 1,000 fatalities that could have been avoided. I am hopeful that this program will bring that number down to zero in the Town of North Hempstead.”

The next Town of North Hempstead Town Board meeting will be held on Thursday, June 16 at 7 p.m. 

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