Republican North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena accused Democrat Councilmember Veronica Lurvey of playing politics in an email chain regarding her recorded response Friday to the supervisor’s State of the Town address.
In an email sent to LIXI Studios founder Alan Ginsberg, who runs North Hempstead TV, Lurvey said she plans on recording a response, similar to last year.
“I plan to film a State of the Town response as I did last year. It will be airing on NHTV after all airings of the State of the Town,” Lurvey said. “The supervisor is aware and did not raise objections to the filming, so I look forward to seeing you on Friday.”
Also copied on the email sent by Lurvey last Wednesday was DeSena, Democrat Councilmembers Mariann Dalimonte, Robert Troiano, Peter Zuckerman, Deputy Supervisor Joe Scalero, town spokesperson Gordon Tepper, chief research assistant to the town board Jeanine Dillon, Blank Slate Media and other members of the press.
DeSena responded that she was surprised by the email, while also copying in Republican Councilmembers David Adhami and Dennis Walsh,
The supervisor said she struggled to understand why Adhami and Walsh were not initially included in her email. These were sent via regular emails from their town emails. Lurvey CC’d members of the Town Board (excluding Democrats). DeSena responded and also CC’d the two Republicans.
“Second, it is entirely inappropriate and a clear bit of political theater to copy the press on an internal email chain,” DeSena said. “While I’m in favor of transparency, I’m disappointed this is the route you chose to have this conversation instead of reaching out to me directly.”
DeSena also said that individual members of the town board cannot direct department staff while day-to-day operations fall under her jurisdiction, according to New York town law. She also said she disagreed with Lurvey saying she didn’t raise objections.
“Filming a response video is an incredible act of political partisanship and is a stain on an event that the League of Women Voters have spent over 35 years building up to be the premiere nonpartisan showcase of all that North Hempstead has accomplished over the past year,” DeSena continued. “I have made my objections clear regarding your attempts at playing politics. This should be a day where we should be celebrating the many great things we’ve done together to make North Hempstead the idyllic place it is.”
A resident asked the town board during the Jan. 24 meeting if the response to the address would be available on the town’s platforms, saying it gives residents the chance to see both sides of the aisle.
DeSena said the response itself is political and was not done previously under prior administrations.
“I think it’s appropriate and I would like there to be an airing of more than one viewpoint on the state of the town,” Lurvey said at the Tuesday meeting.
Zuckerman also said he believed the response was governmental in nature, not political, and it was appropriate.
After Republican County Executive Bruce Blakeman’s State of the County address in 2022, County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D–Glen Cove) issued the Democratic rebuttal.
U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) issued a rebuttal to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s State of the State address in 2022.