I write in response to a letter that appeared last week in the Anton Community Newspapers ("North Hempstead GOP: Hiring of O'Connor Was Political Ploy").
From 1997 through 2001, I served as the Director of Operations for the Town of North Hempstead. In that position, I reported directly to then-Town Supervisor May Newburger and I interacted frequently with all of the members of the Town Council. Jim O'Connor was a councilman during my tenure as the Town's Director of Operations.
Notwithstanding our different partisan affiliations, I found Jim O'Connor to be one of the most intelligent, hardworking, conscientious, dedicated and honorable public servants whom I have ever encountered, and I have been working for and with governments for over a decade. I often wandered into Jim's office well past midnight, only to find him studiously poring over piles of documents in preparation for an upcoming meeting of the town board.
Today, people ask three things of their public officials - intelligence, integrity and civility. Jim embodies all of these characteristics. With a successful law practice, Jim did not need the job of North Hempstead Building Commissioner, yet he willingly took on this very difficult challenge because he believes, in the end, that government can and must work for - not against - the people whom it serves. For this he deserves our support and our gratitude - not the scorn and derision that oozed from last week's letter.
I have complete confidence in Jim's ability to fix the North Hempstead Building Department. Far from being a "political ploy," I believe Jim's appointment is among Supervisor Kaiman's wisest decisions.
Arthur A. Gianelli