Nationwide Search For Building Commish Comes Full Circle
At first glance, we thought our eyes deceived us.
Then we thought, "well, maybe Eden Laikin has taken to writing a humor column for Newsday."
Could it be true? After a 9-month, nationwide search for a new Building Commissioner, the best man for the job -- a Nassau GOP Committeeman, a Levittown Fire Commissioner, a regular Joe (as in Mondello) already on the Town of Hempstead payroll, no less -- is found, if not exactly on Knoll Lane, then certainly, close enough.
Ladies and gentlemen, your new Town of Hempstead Building Commissioner, John Rottkamp of -- where else -- LEVITTOWN!
This has to be a joke, right? Even Kate Murray, at her worst, couldn't be this brazen.
Sorry, folks. The fix was in from the beginning. Yup, they looked high and low, coast to coast, and neary a soul could be found who knew building codes -- or is it the way to circumvent them -- like a party loyalist from Kate's hometown.
Need a job? Register Republican. Swear your allegiance to "she who must be obeyed." Then, move to Levittown.
And what do we make of Dorothy Goosby, the lone Democrat on the Hempstead Town Board, offering high praise for the latest patronage appointment at Town Hall?
Well, Kate did have Dot arm-in-arm, singing We Shall Overcome, a few weeks back, didn't she? Either the Town's sensitivity training is working, or some of the people can ,indeed, be fooled all of the time.
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Officials: Hempstead building commish chosen
BY EDEN LAIKIN
John Rottkamp is expected to be named commissioner of Hempstead Town's scandal-plagued building department, almost a year after the former commissioner was forced to resign for making illegal renovations to his Levittown home.
Rottkamp, also of Levittown, would join four other commissioners working for the town to hail from Republican Supervisor Kate Murray's neighborhood if approved at Tuesday's board meeting.
Rottkamp is also a Republican committeeman in Levittown, the community that serves as the political base of state and Nassau GOP chairman Joseph Mondello. The new commissioner, who would earn $109,000 a year, would join eight other Republican committeemen who head various town departments.
"It ended up coming home," Murray said of the lengthy interview process to pick a commissioner. "We were trying to get the best and brightest and we did. It was a bipartisan committee that chose ."
Rottkamp was hired in 1998 as a deputy commissioner in the general services department. A licensed electrician, he moved to the building department as a deputy commissioner last December.
He is also a commissioner in the Levittown Fire Department and was fire chief there from 2002 to 2003.
In February, former building commissioner John Loeffel -- who lives on the same street as Murray -- was forced to resign after it was reported that he had added a second story and apartment to his home without permits or paying proper taxes.
When Loeffel resigned, Rottkamp took over supervising the troubled building department.His proposed appointment comes after a nationwide search town officials launched in March. Of the 19 applicants, nine were from outside the town and three of those nine were from out of state, officials said.
Sixteen interviews were conducted by a committee that included Hempstead's lone Democratic councilwoman, Dorothy Goosby.
"What we need is someone who really cares, is innovative, has an administrative background, understands the codes and regulations in the town and is willing to put that extra effort in for the residents," Goosby said. "I think we found that. I'm just sorry he lives in Levittown."
Copyright © 2007, Newsday Inc.