On the Right: The political silly season in Nassau

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It’s “Silly Season” time when politicians hope that taxpayers are preoccupied with their summer activities and not paying attention to their antics.

This summer, Nassau’s indicted county executive, Ed Mangano, tops the “Silly Season” list.

In July, Mangano had the effrontery to save the hide of 40 plus of his appointed political hacks by reassigning them to union-protected positions.

This wanton act will prevent the next county executive from making a clean sweep of the lackeys that have collaborated with Mangano during his reign of incompetence.

I learned early on in Mangano’s first term that he was out of his depth, lacked any sense of sound judgment and had no clue of the magnitude of the county’s financial crisis.

That’s why as a member of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority in January 2011, I voted to take over the county’s finances.

But now, Mangano has revealed another side of his persona — arrogance.

By protecting his cronies, he cavalierly stuck it to taxpayers and willfully circumvented the electoral process.

If the shameless Mangano has a smidgen of integrity left in the depth of his soul, he will resign.

That happening, however, is highly unlikely.

Expect Mangano to cling to his office until December 31, 2017—to collect a paycheck while he prepares for his criminal trial that commences one month after he vacates County Hall.

In the arena of political irony, Nassau County’s “ethics” counsel Steven Leventhal determined that his personal representation of County Attorney Carnell Foskey before the NIFA board, which includes his brother Paul Leventhal (an appointee of former Sen. Dean Skelos, a person who has had some conflicts of interest of his own), isn’t a conflict of interest.

Did Paul Leventhal pre-clear with the staff and his board colleagues at NIFA, that his brother was about to join the board in an executive session, representing a client who had business before them?

As it relates to public employee union contracts which are the subject of the current swirl of activity:  NIFA voted 6-1 in the wee hours of the morning in May 2014 to extend those contracts, in their disaggregated and disheveled form, through the end of 2017.

At that time, NIFA required the county to produce, quickly, the summarized and synthesized contracts which are still, as of yet, incomplete.

So, after waiting two and a half years for the county to comply, NIFA issued an order in November 2016 to the county to deliver the contracts and recently ordered Foskey to appear before the board to explain why the county has failed to comply.

Clearly the county was given enough time to accomplish the required task, the difficulty of which is now something the County bemoans without mentioning they had plenty of time to perform.  Of course, given NIFA’s history of its two most recent chairmen never holding the line with the county over the past four years, one can see, perhaps, why the county may have thought they had a license to ignore NIFA.

In my June 23 “On the Right” column, I recounted the dismal results of Gov. Cuomo’s Start-Up program which provides tax-free zones to tech businesses that locate around state college campuses and promise to create jobs.

A July 21 Newsday exposé confirms the plan’s lack of success.

State records indicate that 15 of 28 Long Island tech companies that signed on to Cuomo’s scheme “have withdrawn or been removed from Start-Up New York.”

Reasons tech executives gave for opting out included “the high cost of doing business here, the death of local venture capital, the lure of New York City’s more vibrant tech scene and state bureaucracy….”

These justifications should come as no surprise to readers of my column.  I have pointed out time and again that bureaucrats at all levels of government are inept when it comes to choosing investments or giving tax breaks to Start-Up companies. (Think of Solyndra.)

Instead of squandering taxpayers’ dollars, the governor should cut taxes and slash burdensome regulations to jump-start New York’s economy.

Stay tuned for more “Silly Season” political high jinks.

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