Animal rights activist Diane Madden has announced her nomination as the Libertarian candidate for Town of Hempstead Supervisor.
Madden’s core message addresses her frustration with the traditional party system and is a response to the findings of a county comptroller report on the management of funds at the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter in Wantagh.
Highly critical of Supervisor Laura Gillen and Republican candidate for Supervisor Donald X. Clavin, Madden promises a government that is transparent and just.
In early June, Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman recommended that the town immediately undertake its own operational audit of the animal shelter in Wantagh, including a detailed internal review of staffing, purchasing and the care of animals. Schnirman’s report recommended that the town should establish a registered 501(c)(3) charity to provide transparency and accountability with donated funds and adhere to the town’s collective bargaining agreement, among other recommendations.
“We found serious financial issues with how taxpayer funds, fees, and donations were collected, tracked and spent,” Schnirman said in a news release at the time of the report.
In a press release announcing her candidacy, Madden said, “The outcome of Nassau County’s recent fiscal audit of the Hempstead Animal Shelter alone proves misuse and co- mingling of money in accounts where PILOTS and IDA accounts are shared, obstruction of justice and abuses of paid overtime. With four lawsuits pending against that department alone, the audit revealed that money which should be allocated to its animals is instead being used to fund millions in patronage contracts.”
She added that she was “convinced that the shelter is only a microcosm of the wasteful spending and mismanagement town wide.”
Madden said in an interview that after advocating for an audit for years she knew that it was going to be scathing. She hoped that this audit would bring some kind of personnel change at the shelter. She was disappointed when there was no major change in personnel, she said.
Madden is calling for the resignation of Town Attorney Joseph Ra. When asked about Ra, she did not mince her words, saying “he represents everything that is wrong about the Town of Hempstead.”
Promising to cut the town’s litigation budget, she said, “The more lawsuits, the merrier the town office seems to be.”
Madden, a native of East Meadow, has a history of animal advocacy in town. She said that she ran for a town council seat in 2013 and never misses a Town of Hempstead meeting.
After Larry Sharpe’s gubernatorial bid as a Libertarian drew 95,033 votes, the Libertarian Party now has ballot access in New York. Diane Madden is officially recognized and nominated by the Nassau County branch of the Libertarian Party.
Madden promised attendees at her news conference June 19 that if elected she would opt out of receiving a salary. Instead, she said she would ask for the town board’s help in employing veterans or underprivileged minorities.
Town Supervisor Laura Gillen had not issued any statement in response to Madden’s announcement.
The election is Nov. 5.