Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman will take a job to spearhead Long Island’s continuing efforts to recover from Hurricane Sandy under a new initiative unveiled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week.
Kaiman, a Democrat long believed to be under consideration for a position in the Cuomo administration, was named special advisor for Long Island Storm Recovery at a press conference in Albany last Thursday.
“It’s an exciting opportunity. It carries great weight and purpose,” Kaiman said.
Kaiman will act as the governor’s liaison to residents, businesses and communities affected by Sandy, according a statement issued by Cuomo’s office.
Kaiman, 51, said he was not sure what his specific responsibilities would be.
“The whole thing is under formation. I believe I’ll spend the next few weeks working with the administration in that formation process,” Kaiman said.
The regional storm recovery effort is part of a larger Cuomo administration initiative called the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program. The initiative aims to establish locally created and federally funded strategies to rebuild communities and strengthen them against future natural disasters, according to release.
Kaiman also said he was not sure when the position would start or whether he will complete his current term as town supervisor, which runs through the end of 2013.
“It’s hard to say. It depends on how this formation process takes shape,” he said. “My approach is that I’m still town supervisor until the end of the year. If there comes a time I’ll need to leave earlier, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
If he does leave office before his term expires, Kaiman said town Deputy Supervisor Christopher Senior would automatically succeed him as acting supervisor
The town board, he said, could then appoint a new supervisor.
The board, which has a 4-2 Democratic majority, could appoint Nassau County Legislator Judi Bosworth (D-Great Neck), who is running for town supervisor against town Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio. Bosworth announced her candidacy for town supervisor after Kaiman said he would not seek a sixth term as supervisor.
A resident of Great Neck, Kaiman announced in May that he would not run for re-election for town supervisor, opting instead to run for the position of Nassau County District Court judge, a position he held before becoming town supervisor in 2003
Kaiman said he had declined the nomination to run for Nassau district court judge on Monday.
Kaiman said he isn’t sure of what his new job will pay, but he said it will be more than his current salary of $133,690, and less than the salary of a district court judge.
Scott Siller, who is in his second year as a Flower Hill village trustee, has been selected by the North Hempstead Democratic Committee to run for the Nassau County District Court judge position Kaiman declined. Siller will also be on the Independence, Working Families and Green lines.
Kaiman said he had been exploring prospects for a position in the Cuomo administration over the past two years.
“I’ve been in contact with the governor’s office. We have a good relationship,” he said. “There came a time when this option presented itself and was a very attractive option for me.”
In his new job, Kaiman said he would be working out of Manhattan, although he said most of his time will be spent in state offices in Nassau or Suffolk counties.