I am impressed the Presiding Officer of the Nassau County Legislature took the time to respond to my recent columns in the Island Now about Republican corruption on Long Island.
Yes, it’s absolutely true that there is and always has been corruption on both sides of the aisle throughout New York State, however, my series of Island Now articles are focused on the recent string of indictments of Nassau County-based Republican leadership for extortion, wire fraud, conspiracy, bribe solicitation and tax evasion.
As a reminder they include former New York State Senate Majority leader Dean Skelos, former Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto and current Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano (indicted Town of Hempstead Councilman Ed Ambosino was also the lead attorney for the Nassau IDA).
This is corrupt Republican Nassau County leadership at every level of government.
Presiding Officer Gonsalves conveniently left out her own lapse of ethics in her letter to the editor when she violated campaign finance disclosure laws eight times and was fined $14,000 from 2013-2015.
The Presiding Officer can point fingers at Democrats Gerard Terry, Dave Dennenberg and others but my concerns are about Republican leadership in our community. It all starts at the top.
As a former director of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority I saw first hand the disarray, lack of financial oversight and pay to play cronyism that has made Nassau County a national poster child for poorly run and corrupt government. Most of the new ethics laws the Presiding Officer claims as her own were proposals I crafted while a NIFA director and were strongly endorsed by all NIFA directors, in a bipartisan manner, at the February 2016 meeting as well.
Here are the proposed ethics reforms verbatim:
1) List of political donations to county officials, county committees and local political clubs by a vendor;
2) List of lobbyists and fees paid for service;
3) Disclosure of any relationship between vendors and any elected officials or county employees;
4) List of all bidders/respondents to the RFP from low to high; and
5) If another vendor was chosen that did not provide the lowest bid, an explanation of the reason.
6) A Vendor “Business History Form” that must include the date of formation of the vendor.”
Going forward let’s hope corrupt leadership becomes a thing of the past in Nassau County.