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Hempstead Supervisor-elect Laura Gillen sets transition team

Wednesday, November 22, 2017
This article  by Stefanie Dazio originally appeared in Newsday
Hempstead Town Supervisor-elect Laura Gillen has tapped a managing partner of her Uniondale law firm to head her transition team.
Gillen, a Democrat, announced members of her bipartisan transition team Monday, releasing a list that also includes Hempstead Town Board members Erin King Sweeney, a Republican, and Dorothy Goosby, the current board’s sole Democrat.
“I want to bring in a new era to the Town of Hempstead,” Gillen said in a phone interview Monday.
None of the team’s members personally donated to Gillen’s campaign, according to a review of state campaign finance records. Gillen, who is to be sworn in Jan. 2, was a commercial lawyer for Westerman Ball Ederer Miller Zucker & Sharfstein, LLP. She stepped down right after the election and she has appointed John Westerman, a managing partner and chairman of the firm’s bankruptcy, workout and restructuring department, to lead her team.
“He wants nothing in return for taking on this role,” Gillen said, noting he will serve as a volunteer in the position.
Voter registry records show Westerman, of Oyster Bay, has registered both with the Republican and Independence parties in recent years. He and Gillen have worked together for more than a dozen years.
“I think she’s honest and she’s a really hard worker and she’s smart. We can use more people like that in public service these days,” Westerman said. “When it comes to local politics, party’s not that important.”
Gillen also named Brian Muellers, a former Democratic Nassau legislator as the team’s executive director. Muellers now lives in Huntington Station and lost his bid for the Huntington Town supervisor nomination in May. Gillen also named Keith Corbett, an attorney at Uniondale firm Harris Beach PLLC and a Malverne Village trustee, as the transition’s counsel.

Thomas Garry, chairman of the transition team for Democratic County Executive-elect Laura Curran, is a managing partner at Harris Beach.

Gillen also launched a new website,, to accept applications for town jobs.

The transition team also has tapped current and former elected officials, including Democrats Kevan Abrahams, the Nassau Minority Leader; Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy; former Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko; former Hempstead Village Deputy Mayor Luis Figueroa and Republican former Floral Park Mayor Thomas Tweedy.

Business, labor, religious and social issues officials are also represented on the transition team, including RXR Realty’s chief operating officer Richard Conniff, Long Island Federation of Labor President John Durso, the Miracle Christian Center’s senior pastor David Gates and LGBT Network’s president and chief executive David Kilmnick.

Gillen said Monday that her goal is to bring in staff “without regard to political affiliation.” Her transition team will reach out to Hempstead Town Attorney Joe Ra and outgoing Supervisor Anthony Santino’s administration to begin the process.

She said her first priority will be “transparency and cleaning up any corruption in Town Hall” and will begin by archiving videos of town board meetings online. The meetings are currently only live-streamed.

Hempstead Town Supervisor-elect Laura Gillen announced her transition team on Monday:

Chairman: John Westerman, lawyer at Westerman Ball Ederer Miller Zucker & Sharfstein, LLP

Executive Director: Brian Muellers, former Nassau County legislator

Counsel: Keith Corbett, lawyer at Harris Beach PLLC and Malverne village trustee

Members: Dorothy Goosby, Hempstead Town senior councilwoman

Erin King Sweeney, Hempstead Town councilwoman

Kevan Abrahams, Nassau minority leader and legislator

Robert Kennedy, Freeport mayor and president of Nassau County Village Officials Association

Thomas Tweedy, former Floral Park mayor

Luis Figueroa, former Hempstead Village deputy mayor

David Gates, senior pastor at Christian Miracle Center in Hempstead Village

Eric Alexander, director of Vision Long Island

Linda Armyn, senior vice president of corporate affairs at Bethpage Federal Credit Union

Marianela Casas, regional representative from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office

Richard Conniff, chief operating officer of RXR Realty

Vincent Del Castillo, former chief of department at New York City Transit Police Department 

John Durso, president of the Long Island Federation of Labor

Susan Gordon Ryan, former regional director of the state parks’ Long Island region 

Marc Herbst, executive director of the Long Island Contractors’ Association

David Kilmnick, president and chief executive of the LGBT Network

Mark Lesko, former Brookhaven Town supervisor 

Vincent LeVien, director of external affairs for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn

Julie Marchesella, former president of the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce

Donna Milrod, former deputy chief executive of Deutsche Bank North America

Jim Montes, assistant dean for the Office of Career and Professional Development and director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Touro Law Center

Malik Nadeem Abid, New York chapter president of American Muslim Voice

Gil Ricotta, senior vice president of BankUnited

Lisa Tyson, director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition

Esther Zelmanovitz, attorney at Esther Schwartz Zelmanovitz, PLLC

Donna Bacon, professor at Nassau Community College