Schnirman defends controversial $108K payout

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Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman (Courtesy of Comptroller's Office)

When Jack Schnirman left his position as Long Beach city manager to take over as Nassau County comptroller, he received a $108,000 payment for his unused sick and vacation days. But a recent report said the payout was almost double what Schnirman was entitled to.

A Newsday report showed that Schnirman was actually due about $55,000 for his unused off days. When confronted with this, Newsday said, Schnirman did not dispute the accuracy of the calculation.

According to city code, termination payments for employees are limited to 30 percent of unused sick days and a total of 50 vacation days. But Newsday reported that Schnirman received pay for 52 vacation days and full pay for 110 unused sick days, bringing his payment up to six digits.

Scrutiny of the payment came soon after Long Beach announced that the city could run out of money in a few weeks. Residents have taken to local meetings and social media to express their outrage over the payout.

“The problem with these types of payments all over Nassau is why our taxes are skyrocketing,” one woman wrote on Schnirman’s Facebook page. “It must end!”

Schnirman took to Facebook himself to defend the payment.

“As Long Beach is facing a difficult budget season, rather than stick to the task at hand, some have focused on how my accrued vacation and sick time was calculated as I transitioned out of the City Manager role,” he wrote.

Schnirman said that his termination pay was calculated in the same way as other city employees and that he played no role in determining his payout. But he said that if a mistake was made, then the city should be reviewed by other agencies, possibly including the comptroller’s office that Schnirman heads.

“While my understanding has been and remains that all payments were calculated properly, if it is determined by a proper review that the city’s payment to me was at all in error then I would seek to immediately return any overage,” he wrote.

The payment has drawn the ire of County Legislator Denise Ford (D-Long Beach), who called for an investigation into Schnirman’s handling of city finances in letters sent to U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue of New York’s Eastern District, Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas, former state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, according the Newsday.

She appeared at a Long Beach City Council meeting last week, demanding answers.

“I want to see, everybody wants to see, how he was able to get $108,000,” she said. “Legitimate questions have been raised.”

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