From the Desk of Delia Deriggi-Whitton: Independent I.G. needed for county contracts

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Millions of taxpayer dollars are spent each year on infrastructure improvements in the capital plan that I support. As your legislator, responsible funding of projects is a major priority of mine.

To be optimal stewards of taxpayer dollars, a critical step is to ensure due diligence is given when reviewing and approving contracts.

Unfortunately, our county executive who is under indictment oversees the current process.

His deputy county executive has stated that he is also under investigation for contract steering.

Eighteen months ago the district attorney stated that an independent Inspector General should be put on place before future bonding and contracts are awarded.

She called our current process a “recipe for disaster.”

Until Contract Reform is instituted, our only recourse to protect taxpayers from future corruption is to refrain from bonding many items.

My caucus has decided that, unless the administration and majority legislators agree to hire an Independent Inspector General, we will consider bonding only for items that directly affect public safety and some environmental issues.

We have bonded for many items for our police, such as vests, cars, a boat and other items, as well as some environmental projects, such as a Bethpage Plume Study.

On April 3, 2017, the majority stood on the Legislature steps and called for County Executive Ed Mangano to resign. “There is a cloud over our government and it’s an obligation to try … to remove the cloud,” said Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves. Even with this happening, at almost every meeting the administration and majority legislators continue to push for bonding.

They continue to claim that the current oversight process is fine, although that person’s job security is in the hands of the county executive.

I’m not happy about refraining from bonding to push for contract reform.

But, given the larger issue of past corruption, not bonding is the only way that my fellow minority legislators and I can prevent further abuse of tax dollars.

The administration and majority legislators are ignoring the fact that contract reform is the only solution to fixing our fault-ridden contract review system. I am committed to protecting taxpayers from future abuse.

This isn’t a political issue. It is good government.
I am inspired every day by my constituents’ encouragement to keep up the fight to end corruption in Nassau County once and for all.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office with questions or comments on this or any other topic at 516-571-6211 or dderiggiwhitton@nassaucountyny.gov.

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