Written by Christy Hinko Wednesday, 16 October 2013 00:00
Republican Felix Procacci, of Franklin Square, is running on the Democratic ticket this election season, challenging Republican incumbent, Kate Murray, for the position of supervisor for the Town of Hempstead. Procacci, a computer programmer, is basing his campaign on increasing town government transparency.
“For me this campaign is not political; it is a continuation of my efforts to reform town government, an effort that began almost three years ago when I attended my first town board meeting,” said the challenger. “Sixty-two consecutive meetings later, and with a greater understanding of town government, my goal remains the same: the reform of town government.”
Procacci has lived in Franklin Square for 15 years. He is a graduate of the City College School of Engineering, and has worked as an electrical engineer and computer programmer for the past 29 years.
Procacci believes that if the Town of Hempstead had a transparent government, either the current administration would not still be serving, or things would be running differently.
“[Transparency] will cut through the incumbency advantage,” he said. “The people will know the truth regardless of what Kate Murray says.” The candidate pledges not to hide behind the “propaganda of a multimillion dollar, taxpayer-funded publicity machine.”
In 2010, Procacci strengthened his advocacy for transparency after three volunteers at the town animal shelter were banned from the facility and subsequently filed civil suits against the town, its staff and many elected officials. That led
Procacci to start investigating the town’s budget, and he said he found millions in shakily detailed expenditures. According to the candidate, an audit by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli likewise found more than $3 million—about 40 percent of the shelter’s budget—not adequately accounted for.
“Comptroller DiNapoli’s audit of the animal shelter confirmed that Kate Murray’s administration is not fiscally responsible (as she always claims), but instead is directly responsible for the wasteful spending of millions of taxpayer dollars,” he said.
But can a Democrat win in the Town of North Hempstead? “If I didn’t think it was possible I wouldn’t be running,” said Procacci, pointing out that Barack Obama won by 52 percent in Nassau County.
With respect to economic development, Procacci said he was not in favor of most of the Lighthouse Project proposals, but added it is more important to let people who live nearby and are affected decide what level of density they want in their neighborhood.
“I am not an economist or developer, but you have to build what people will buy,” said Procacci.“ If 90 percent of the residents don’t want a redevelopment, then I am not going to do that. Even if I feel like it’s wrong, how can I oppose my constituents?” He said if he was presented with an idea that required rezoning, he hold have many public meetings with residents and business owners to make sure everyone was on board.
“Transparency—that is the way I would solve all of these [the town’s] problems,” he said. “I believe that the people are in charge of the government.”