More efficent government needed: Clavin

Don Clavin, pictured in 2019, announced the Town of Hempstead is giving CARES funds to four area colleges. (Photo by Tom McCarthy)

Hempstead Receiver of Taxes Donald X. Clavin Jr. said that if he is elected Hempstead supervisor, taxpayers will see a more efficient and fiscally smart government.

In a sitdown interview with Blank Slate Media last Friday, Clavin, a Republican, said he celebrates technology and how it can create a more efficient government and has been doing so since he took office as receiver of taxes in 2001. Clavin said that he often looks to the private sector for how government can change.

“One of my campaign themes is to embrace technology in all the departments,” Clavin said.

Clavin said that his office has made efforts to move forward by extending office hours up to 6 p.m. and implementing two drive-through locations with no additional cost for taxpayers. IT is the most important department in government, Clavin said.

Clavin is opposing Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen, the first Democratic supervisor in over 100 years, and said that after seeing polls in September “this is going to be a very close election.”

Gillen had a chance to bring about bipartisan government, Clavin said. He noted that when she ran she had the support of Republicans on the Town Board like Councilman Bruce Blakeman and Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney.

He said that he has not seen a Town Board so disunited during his 18 years at Hempstead, but noted the disunity started under former Supervisor Anthony Santino. On Santino’s creating patronage jobs affecting Gillen’s supervisor budget before he left office in 2018, Clavin said that was Santino’s decision and he must defend it and that he stands with the CSEA employees of the Town of Hempstead.

“He made that decision. He got the votes for it,” Clavin said.

A major issue of the campaign, Clavin said, is taxes.

“The cost of living is so high here and people are very fed up,” Clavin said

Clavin criticized Gillen’s campaigning on cutting taxes for the 2019 budget, Clavin said that these cuts came from the Town Board with Gillen voting “no.”

On Gillen’s criticism of the board for tabling proposals for five money-saving techniques for the town, including pushing the town clerk’s office to go fully digital, Clavin asked whether Gillen took the time to meet with the board beforehand to discuss the proposals, how they work and the benefits they provide.

On the ongoing controversy surrounding the Parks Department’s alleged oral deals with catering organization Dover Gourmet Corp., Clavin said that if something wrong was done then it is good law enforcement agencies are involved.

He did criticize Gillen for holding a news conference on Dover operating without a contract at Lido Beach two weeks before the election.

“The first 100 days we’re going to make a difference,” Clavin said.

Clavin said that a major “overhaul” is needed in the town.

As supervisor, he said, he would ask for the resignation of all department heads, bring about a complete overhaul of the Building Department and slash the supervisor’s budget.

He also said that there would be a cutback on “take-home” cars provided to town department heads. Clavin said he returned his “take-home” car in August but hadn’t used it since 2016, joking that he had to jumpstart the engine when he returned it and that he never took it to the beach. As town supervisor, he said he would not be using a “take-home” car provided by the town.

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Tom McCarthy

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