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DeSena Suspends TNH Building Chief; Vows to "Clean-Up" Building Dept

By Heather Crosley

North Hempstead Supervisor Jen DeSena (R-Manhasset) suspended the Town's Building Commissioner this summer, due to "misconduct" and "illegal retaliation" against town employees.

DeSena, who took office last year, has vowed to "clean-up" a building department that was marked with corruption and incompetence - and often targeted and retaliated against residents for political or personal reasons.

"I have a zero-tolerance policy for workplace retaliation" stated DeSena.

At the request of DeSena, an audit of the Building Department was conducted by the Nassau County Comptroller, and uncovered illegal retaliation by the Building Commissioner John Niewender against an employee who had filed a complaint against him.

DeSena then ordered that Niewender be suspended without pay. Niewender is a longtime Democratic political appointee, hired originally by former Supervisor Jon Kaiman (D).

This becomes the latest scandal to hit North Hempstead's Building Department since the 2007 Nassau County District Attorney investigation which led to the indictment and conviction of former Building Commissioner David Wasserman and four other Democratic officials.

DeSena is the first Republican elected Supervisor in over 35 years - since 1987. The Building Department has been a sump of Democratic Party patronage for decades.

With the suspension of Niewender, Supervisor DeSena is acting on her promise to hold North Hempstead to a higher standard, and to serve the public.


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