On paper, it is hard to argue against Wayne Wink in his race for supervisor of the Town of North Hempstead.
Wink, a Democrat who lives in Roslyn, started his career as an aide and chief of staff for a county legislator. He then served five years on the North Hempstead Town Board, followed by three full and one partial terms as a county legislator, followed by two terms as town clerk.
This experience gives him the knowledge and personal relationships that would serve any supervisor well.
But in giving Wink our strong endorsement, we are more impressed by his understanding of the most important issues facing the town – the town Building Department and threatened downtown business districts. And his plans to address the issues.
Wink, a real estate lawyer, has laid out a five-point plan to address the sometimes lengthy delays faced by both residents and businesses not located in a village in getting a building permit and the less than helpful attitudes of department employees.
That plan includes increasing transparency by putting records online, looking at the potential for additional staff or reallocating current department members and working with people at the beginning of the permit process.
Wink said these changes along with a more business-friendly approach from Building Department employees are needed to attract developers who can help revitalize downtown districts.
Wink also recognizes the lack of coordination among local villages in places like Middle Neck Road in Great Neck, where five municipalities have jurisdiction. He said he was prepared to use the town supervisor’s bully pulpit along with his relationships with local officials to try to coordinate development efforts.
Wink is opposed by Jennifer DeSena, a Republican living in Manhasset who is executive director of the Manhasset Community Coalition Against Substance Abuse. She previously worked as an SEC enforcement attorney.
The two are seeking to succeed Judi Bosworth, who is retiring after having served four two-year terms.
Like Wink, DeSena sees the Building Department as the town’s No. 1 issue.
DeSena said she has spoken with Oyster Bay’s building commissioner and Smithtown’s supervisor to gather insight on possible solutions. Possibilities are combining both zoning and code review for applicant accessibility and reasonably interpreting the town code.
She also credibly touts herself as someone capable of building coalitions to address problems faced by downtown business districts.
We believe DeSena has the skills and background to be a very effective representative. But, at least for the moment, not as town supervisor.
For that job, we strongly support Wayne Wink for North Hempstead supervisor.