Rich Nicolello appointed North Hempstead town attorney as Republicans add morning meetings for public hearings

Rich Nicolello appointed North Hempstead town attorney as Republicans add morning meetings for public hearings
North Hempstead Town Attorney Rich Nicolello. (Photo courtesy of theisland360 archives)

Former Nassau County Presiding Officer Rich Nicolello was officially named North Hempstead Town Attorney Tuesday night in a shortened meeting that also saw Town Republicans add meeting dates to the town’s calendar. 

Due to inclement weather, the 30 minutes of public comments and public hearings on Tuesday night’s agenda were continued to the next meeting in light of the inclement weather and the town requesting residents to stay off the roads. 

Democratic Council Member Robert Troiano said during the vote to appoint Nicolello that he is excited to work with him again. 

“I had the pleasure of working with Rich in the county Legislature when we were both legislators,” said Troiano, who after his first stint serving on the town board was a county legislator from 2011 to 2014. “When I heard the news that Rich might be joining us, my fingers were crossed and when that was confirmed I was really excited.”

Republican Supervisor Jennifer DeSena said she is thrilled after 28 years serving the county Nicolello will serve the town, the same one he began his law career as a deputy town attorney in 1986. 

Nicolello thanked the board for the appointment and added he is excited to continue working with each of the council members as he had done during his time in the Legislature. 

“I truly am looking forward to continue working with you and working for the town in this new capacity,” Nicolello said Tuesday night. 

Nicolello replaces John Chiara, who was appointed in January 2022 after he was the deputy county executive for compliance with Democrat Laura Curran’s administration and then appointed as acting county attorney.

Nicolello will earn $185,000 a year, according to the town. 

In other news, Town Republicans amended the 2024 calendar to add 10:00 a.m. meetings on Thursday, Feb. 15, and Tuesdays, Oct. 8, Nov. 12 and Dec. 10. DeSena said the amendment was to create new slots for specifically public hearings and not make the board, town employees and members of the public stay at town hall close to or after midnight in the event meetings–which start at 7 p.m.–run for hours. 

“We have added several daytime hearings so that we can get through town business in a more efficient way,” DeSena said. 

DeSena went on to say that she is in favor of adding more dates in the summer months as well if necessary, which could be held in the evening. 

Troiano, who works for the Nassau County Board of Elections and serves as president of the Westbury Board of Education, said the board is “changing the rules in the middle of the game” and that he will have to leave work to make the morning meetings. 

“When I made the decision to run for town council, all the meetings were planned out and had been that way for decades so I could accommodate that,” said Troiano, who noted he’s the only board member who works for an employer. 

Democrat Mariann Dalimonte said that she has heard complaints from residents over the timing of board of zoning appeals, which are held on Wednesdays at 10 a.m., and that she would have liked to hear from the public–who were asked to stay home Tuesday night amid inclement weather. 

Republican Ed Scott said there are workers–specifically police officers and paid firefighters–who cannot make meetings at night and the board can “get a feel” for what works best by trying different meeting times.

DeSena added that the earlier meetings prevent staff from staying at work all day and that something needs to be done.

“We can’t please everyone but it’s up to us to do something,” DeSena said. “We’ve got to take a step forward and try to improve the length of our meetings and make them more reasonable.”

In unrelated town news, the public hearing to consider the expansion of the Hillside Islamic Center in North New Hyde Park will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m.

The next regular meeting of the North Hempstead Town Board will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 6. 

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