The Nassau County Legislature unanimously approved Jodi Franzese as the county’s first inspector general on Monday.
Franzese will focus on the integrity of county contracts and will be able to subpoena documents needed to conduct investigations. She will work independently of the Legislature.
Franzese is coming to Nassau County from the New York City Department of Investigation, where she served as senior inspector general.
Legislator Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park), the presiding officer of the Republican majority, said in a statement that “having someone with [Franzese’s] wealth of experience will be a tremendous asset, and can allow Nassau residents to have confidence in that office.”
According to the job description, Franzese’s office will be tasked with conducting “the review, investigation, examination and audit” of all county dealings such as the programs, accounts and expenditures of county agencies.
Nicolello said in a previous telephone interview that while Franzese will not be able to make laws on her own, she can make recommendations to the Legislature, which can act on them. He added that if she were to find any criminal activity, she can refer the case to the district attorney’s office.
She can also recommend ways to make the procurement process smoother, Legislator Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), the minority leader and member of the bipartisan search committee, said in a previous telephone interview.
He added that Franzese will make sure that all entities that seek a county contract are given the same opportunity.
Franzese, of Massapequa, will receive a salary of $150,000 and her office will have a budget of $540,000 to pay the salaries of her staff, according to the 2019 budget.
She will serve a five-year term, which is one year longer than the terms of the Legislature, so as to not have elections interfere with her duties, Abrahams said.
The Legislature established the new county position after the Democratic minority refused to authorize any capital bonds for any projects unrelated to public safety for the last two and half years, Abrahams said.
Both Nicolello and Abrahams were part of the search committee, which reviewed and interviewed applicants for the position.
Nicolello said the county received applications from all over the country, and both the Republicans and Democrats reviewed resumes individually and then interviewed candidates together.
In his statement, Nicolello said, “We believe Ms. Franzese is very qualified to be the Inspector General for Nassau County.”