Town Supervisor Concedes Need For Oversight; Hempstead To Review Special District Budgets
Its pretty much passe to report that the Special Districts in America's largest township -- Hempstead Town -- were stealing from John Q. Public to lavish luxuries upon Commissioners, Superintendents, the District Accountant, and Counsel.
In fact, in the beleagured Town of Hempstead Sanitary District 1 -- where Counsel for the District, Nat "Pick Up The Extra Bread At Passover" Swergold, admitted only to "a few errors" -- the money flowed like sludge leaching through the landfill.
"A few errors," eh?
Yeah. Like using the public's tax dollars to pay for life insurance premiums for the lifetime of the Commissioners, Superintendent, and part-time Treasurer in the face amount of $300,000, and premiums for lifetime coverage of $200,000 for the District's attorney -- you got it, Nat Swergold.
The Sanitary District's Accountant, Salvatore Evola (sounds like "Ebola," but is far more invasive), held four (count 'em, 4 government jobs at the same time -- 2 full-time and 2 part-time) [see, we told you they clone 'em in the Town of Hempstead], for which he received (we won't insult your intelligence by saying, "earned") $178,000 in taxpayer money.
And Nat Swergold himself, he of many, many, many learned years (rumor has it he was counsel to Moses at the time the ten commandments were handed down at Mount Sinai), commanded a base salary of $40,000, plus some $17,000 in benefits. In addition, he billed -- although kept no time or performance records (who needs 'em?) --SD 1 $200 per hour for work allegedly perfomed for the District, biting the public's dime for more than $80,000 in 2005 alone.
"Plenty of law makes it absolutely clear that the arrangement I have with the district for 34 years is quite common," Mr. Swergold told the press.
"Plenty of law..." Must be a term of art. We call it, "Good & Plenty." Good for Nat Swergold and his cronies. Plenty of tax dollars being drained from the public coffers with no evidence of work having ever been performed.
"The arrangement (is)... quite common." True enough. That does not, however, make it prudent, practical, right, or, for that matter, legal. Larcenies are, we suppose, "quite common" on Long Island. That doesn't mean the perpetrators should be allowed to get away with them!
We at The Community Alliance blog are certain that Nat Swergold and his patronage buds at Town of Hempstead Sanitary District 1 are quite comfortable with the "arrangements" they've made for themselves. And even former employees, now deceased, whose paid health insurance premiums followed them into the graves, must be smiling down from above. [Or is it "up from below?"]
Yes, the Town of Hempstead, where Supervisor Kate Murray has made staying the course of the Bush era (error?) look like child's play, will now begin to review the budgets of the Special Districts. Better late than never, we suppose, but one is left to wonder, given that very special relationship between Town, Special District and political party, whether the review process will be anything more than a rubber stamp, and the Supervisor's critique -- assuming any is offered -- amounting to anything more than "sound and fury, signifying nothing."
And what say you, Madam District Attorney? Certainly, the "few errors" conceded by Mr. Swergold -- even the "few" we've referenced here -- warrant, at the very least, a thorough criminal investigation.
The public has, by clear and convincing evidence, been fleeced by those entrusted with dollars but little sense at Sanitary District 1. That the misdoings of the vulchers hovering over one of too many Town of Hempstead garbage dumps should not go unpunished, and that those who pick through the trash and our pockets for our tax dollars, must be brought to justice, is, we believe, beyond a reasonable doubt!