Hempstead Town Councilman Anthony D’Esposito announced on Tuesday that he had accepted a full-time position at the Nassau County Board of Elections as an administrative assistant specializing in security assessments of polling areas. The $100,000 salaried job comes in addition to the $71,000 he collects for his council seat.
The move drew fire from Democratic Town Supervisor Laura Gillen, who released a statement the same day criticizing the move as a patronage hire that would pull D’Esposito, a republican from Island Park, away from serving his constituents. “It is wholly unethical and a clear conflict of interest for Councilman D'Esposito to continue serving in his elected capacity while he accepts a plum, six-figure patronage job from his political party,” the statement read, and called on him to either refuse the new position or vacate his council seat.
D’Esposito in a phone interview said that, historically, town council positions have always been considered part-time. “Other people [on the board] have full-time jobs,” he said. “This isn’t different from anyone else who has served.”
He released his own statement Tuesday afternoon in response, denying Gillen’s accusation. “To be clear, there is no conflict of interest between my position as a Hempstead town councilman and my new unrelated role in ensuring the security of voting system in the county,” it read, adding that he would recuse himself from any town council matters that involved the board.
D’Esposito’s announcement came as he also signaled that he would soon retire from the NYPD after 12 years on the force. He had been on unpaid leave from the department since his February 2016 appointment to the town council position vacated by former Supervisor Anthony Santino. Santino was later unseated in an electoral upset by Gillen last November.
D’Esposito said he would defer the collection of his pension from the NYPD, and that he was in the process of working to receive health benefits through the department’s Detectives’ Endowment Association labor union.
In describing his new position, D’Esposito said it entailed conducting threat assessments, and looking for ways to harden the security infrastructure at various polling sites across Nassau County.
“The viability of our electoral process, as well as the sanctity of voting data, demands vigilance and competence in the areas of public safety, cyber security and investigations now more than ever before,” D’Esposito said in a statement. “My work as a detective in the New York City Police Department has prepared me well to assist the Nassau County Board of Elections as it confronts new safety and security challenges.”