In The Pockets Of Nassau County Legislators
First it was top GOP aides in the Nassau County Legislature, getting raises even before the Republicans officially took over the hen house. Then it was Town of Hempstead officials, giving themselves yet another increase for a job they say was well done. And now enter Peter Schmitt and the Republican majority on the Nassau County Legislature, voting themselves a hefty 47% boost in salary without so much as public debate.
Glad to see we're in the money in good 'ol Nassau County, where 10% unemployment can be trumped by self-absorbed politicos, and the will of a dumbed-down electorate gives way to the want of a just plain dumb lebgislative body.
How far do in we let these greedy, self-serving bums stick the knife and twist before we boot them out of office? How long before we say, "we've had more than enough of this Schmitt?"
Meanwhile, recently elected Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos -- the fella who's supposed to be watching the pot where our tax dollars are churned into fodder for political hacks and their ilk -- has refused comment on the legislative raises.
And along the very party lines that picks from one pocket (ours) to put into their own, Maragos has appointed the Town of Hempstead Comptroller John Mastromarino of Valley Stream to become the Maragos' deputy comptroller for accounting, payroll, claims, and health benefits.
Yup. That's cleaning house, all right. With the same filthy machine that sweeps everything under the rug in Hempstead Town!
Rejoice, Tea Party revolutionists. You've gotten exactly what you've asked for. Too damn bad for the rest of us, who deserve a heck of a lot better for our money!
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Mangano orders another look at GOP raises
by SID CASSESE / email@example.com
As Nassau Legislative Democrats vowed Tuesday to seek a reversal of Republican-approved overall raises of 42 percent for Nassau's top county legislative leaders, County Executive Edward Mangano said he would ask his county attorney to look into the matter.
At a news conference in Mineola, Minority Leader Diane Yatauro of Glen Cove, a Democrat, said she was "appalled at the shameless grab for money" exhibited by presiding officer Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa), who proposed the raises. Yatauro said she asked that Mangano, a Republican, "direct the county attorney to put a stop" to the pay hikes.
Mangano responded in the early afternoon with a news release that he "had referred the question of the legality of the raises to the county attorney's office for review."
On Monday, Republicans, in an 11-8 party-line vote, increased the compensations of Schmitt, from $67,500 to $99,500, a 47 percent hike; Deputy Presiding Officer John Ciotti of North Valley Stream, from $62,500 to $84,500, a 35 percent increase; and Yatauro, from $63,500 to $90,500, or 42 percent more. Other legislators did not get raises.
Yatauro said she would not take the raise; if forced to take it, she would give it to charity.
Democrats contend that the proposal - clocked in at 9:45 a.m. and voted on at 10:20 a.m. - violated the county charter's mandate to notify the public first.
"That's clear," said Yatuaro.
Schmitt fired back in a release, saying Yatauro had been informed on Friday about the raises and that they would be put on Monday's legislative agenda.
"I put it forth in the full light of day . . . and I stand by my decision," Schmitt said, also calling the Democratic minority "ethical hypocrites."
He added, "All I did was what former presiding officer Judy Jacobs tried to do three times. I didn't see the Democratic legislators holding news conferences against her. . . . Nor did I see Democratic indignation when they voted to increase former County Executive [Thomas] Suozzi's salary by 60 percent."
When Democrats controlled the Legislature, they also voted for a large pay increase for county officials. In 2007, they increased then-County Executive Thomas Suozzi's salary by 60 percent to $174,614. Suozzi had gone without a raise for about five years. The comptroller, district attorney, clerk and assessor each received pay raises.
Jacobs denies allegation
But Jacobs later lashed out at Schmitt, saying she never tried to do what he did.
"I never put any raise proposal for legislators to a vote," she said. "And the proposal for Suozzi and others came from a [recommendation by] a bipartisan, blue ribbon panel when the economy was better."
Under Jacobs' leadership as presiding officer from 2000 through 2007, Democrats raised the issue of pay hikes for all legislators three times. But the Republican lawmakers would not support the move because Democrats didn't have all 10 of their lawmakers on board and the measure never came to a vote.
Five other Democratic legislators and a dozen others, including Tea Party members, participated in the news conference. Among the latter were Bob Pendleton of Merrick and Claudia Borecky of North Merrick.
"We helped put the Republicans into office, and we can take them out," said Pendleton.
Borecky said: "People are very smart, and they know when they have been lied to."
Anthony Santino, a spokesman for Joseph Mondello, whose legislative candidates campaigned last year on cutting spending, said the Nassau GOP chairman had no comment on the raises. Nassau's new Republican comptroller, George Maragos, also said he had no comment.