An overflow crowd met at the Town Hall of North Hempstead on New Year's Day for the inauguration of Supervisor May Newburger, Councilmen Fred Pollack and Wayne Wink and Town Clerk Michelle Schimel.
When he administered the oath of office to Supervisor May Newburger, the former town attorney, Judge Howard Miller, praised her for "the three C's--competence, compassion and courage." He said that Supervisor Newburger understands that good government is the best politics and praised her "determination to do the right thing. Because of that I have seen her take shocking abuse in this room. Judges don't have to put up with that."
In her response, Supervisor Newburger told the enthusiastic crowd, "We ran as a team and we won as a team. Broadway has its angels and its production staffs and so do we. She thanked her son, Peter, Joe Galante and a number of political leaders but her highest praise was reserved for her special assistant, Deena Lesser. "She is the best friend anyone could have," Ms. Newburger said. She spoke of the Town of North Hempstead as a place of "great affluence where some people go hungry. Some people need a second car and others need a second job. We celebrate diversity in this town, which was the birthplace of the United Nations. We have parks, a wonderful coastline, shopping, museums and music. We have seen a fiscal and environmental success story. The incinerator is history and in its place is Harbor Ridge. There are still many challenges before us. We have special obligations to those with the least political clout. Politics and government cannot solve all problems but they do shape the conditions in which they can be solved."
The ceremonies were opened by the Pledge of Allegiance, led by William Baxter of Manhasset, past county commander of the Nassau County American Legion. Rev. Charles Vogeley gave the invocation, pastor of the Lutheran Church of Our Savior in Port Washington, and then District Court Judge Jonathan Kaiman took over as master of ceremonies.
He welcomed the crowd of jubilant Democrats who had seen their candidates sweep to victory in the November election. Judge Kaiman began by thanking outgoing Councilmen James O'Connor and Angelo Ferrara for their four years of service on the board. Remarking on the size of the crowd, he said, "Every seat is occupied and if I thanked everyone who helped win these elections we would all be here all day, so I won't."
He introduced Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy who administered the oath of office to Town Clerk Michelle Schimel who was re-elected to a second term in November. The congresswoman and Ms. Schimel had become friends through their involvement with gun control some years ago. After taking the oath, Ms. Schimel said that she was "happy to be back" in the clerk's office. "We've worked hard," she said. "We have a first class record center now and we're on the Internet." She then thanked her husband, Mark, sons, Alex and Spencer, and Joe Galante, Democratic leader of the Town of North Hempstead.
County Court Judge Claire Weinberg next administered the oath to Councilman Fred Pollack. Pollack first thanked his wife, Meryl, and then he too applauded Galante "whose extraordinary plan got us here." Pollack had lost his seat on the town board in 1997 and said he had to admit to a "sense of personal satisfaction" in winning this election.
A moving moment came when County Legislator Craig Johnson administered the oath of office to Councilman Wayne Wink. "Ten years ago we saw May, Tony and my mother (Barbara Johnson, who died two years ago) sworn in. Wayne was her assistant and he was like a son to her and a brother to me." The two men then embraced. Wink thanked his family and said that he had learned about town government from Supervisor Newburger, Councilwoman Doreen Banks and Councilman Tony D'Urso when he was aide to Councilwoman Johnson.
After that Judge Miller administered the oath of office to Supervisor Newburger. The morning drew to a close after the supervisor's remarks.