Friday, 13 January 2012 00:00
Pointing to the new administration comprised of a history-making female majority and the first Iranian American elected to office in New York State, Supervisor Jon Kaiman took the oath of office for a fifth term Jan. 2, promising to hit the ground running with his reshuffled team and to continue stressing innovation, continuity and accountability.
With his wife, Kim, and his three children by his side along with a number of other family members, North Hempstead’s fifth-term supervisor was sworn in by U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer at a mid afternoon ceremony at Clinton G. Martin Park in New Hyde Park. He paid tribute afterwards to the political process and America, a place where one can go from political refugee to politician.
“As we go from candidate to elected official, we must celebrate the process,” Supervisor Kaiman said, declaring the start of his fifth term an “extraordinary” moment. “When you look at the people here today who have stepped forward to serve, you feel an extraordinary sense of pride in the system of government and the responsibility given by the people to serve, to provide public safety, to make sure the drinking water is clean and to enforce the codes.”
More than 300 hundred guests including Town Councilwomen Viviana Russell and Lee Seeman, as well as state, county and local elected officials, party leaders from across both aisles as well as a long list of local mayors and village trustees, attended the two-hour-long mid-afternoon ceremony.
Supervisor Kaiman outlined his accomplishments to them, highlighting his hallmark programs, including TownStat, North Hempstead’s innovative performance management system, the Comprehensive School Recycling Program involving more than 34,000 students in nine of the town’s 11 school districts, and Project Independence, the town’s groundbreaking ‘aging in place’ initiative. He vowed to continue honing them.
The fifth inauguration ceremony for Supervisor Kaiman featured the installation of two newly-elected Town Council members, Anna M. Kaplan and Dina M. DeGiorgio, re-elected Town Councilman Thomas K. Dwyer, and the re-elected Receiver of Taxes, Charles Berman.
The ceremony kicked off with welcoming remarks from Town Leader Gerard Terry, the emcee for the occasion, followed by the presentation of the colors by two members of the New York State Court Officers Ceremonial Unit. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by the children of Supervisor Kaiman, Receiver of Taxes Berman, and newcomers Kaplan and DeGiorgio.
Lisa Berman, the wife of Tax Receiver Berman, led the audience in the singing of the National Anthem. The musical interlude featured Disha Singh, a Herricks High School sophomore who performed a rendition of Claude Debussy’s Doctor Gradus Ad Parnassum on piano. Habeeb U. Ahmed, chair of the Islamic Center of Long Island, Westbury, blessed the ceremony in bilingual prayers and Msgr. Brendan P. Biordan, pastor of St. Aloysius Roman Catholic Church in Great Neck, gave the benediction.
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli swore in Anna M. Kaplan, a Democrat elected to the seat formerly held by Councilwoman Maria Christina Poons, and the first Iranian American to be elected to office in the State.
“I owe a great deal to this country and I hope I can give back some measure of what it gave to me,” said Kaplan. “My job is to represent everyone and I will make no distinctions between Democrats and Republicans,” she said.
With the election of Kaplan and DeGiorgio, who was elected to the seat held by Councilman Fred Pollack, the seven-member North Hempstead Town Board now has a female majority of four Councilwomen.
DeGiorgio, who was sworn in by former U.S. Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato, said: “In the days ahead, I will work together with the administration to accomplish one common goal: serve the residents of North Hempstead. Today is a day for words and beautiful speeches, but tomorrow is a time for action. I like to make my actions speak louder than my words.”
Town Councilman Thomas K. Dwyer, who was re-elected to his third four-year term, recalled his father talking a lot about a “young up and coming” Republican. “Today, I’m fortunate enough to have this individual swear me in,” Dwyer said, referring to former State Senator Michael Balboni. “Mike always crossed party lines and I plan to continue doing the same as I search for innovative ways to provide services as we go forward.”
Receiver of Taxes Berman, too, echoed the theme of innovation in his office. Since 2010, he said, he has “made great strides” towards improving services, totally overhauling the Receiver of Taxes portion of the town’s website, for example. Now, also, Berman said, residents can avail themselves of the most complete catalogue of property tax exemption information in the county.
Berman said, “During the tough economic times, we didn’t harden our hearts at Town Hall, we continued to deliver essential services. Faced with adversity, we got better, my office being a prime example.”
Visit North Hempstead’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/townofnorthhempstead for photos of the historic inaugural ceremony. For more information, please call 311.