Nicolello, Drucker appointed to committee to select county’s first inspector general

Nicolello, Drucker appointed to committee to select county’s first inspector general
Nassau County Legislator Arnold Drucker, left, and Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello, right, were appointed to a committee to select the county's first inspector general. (Photos courtesy of Arnold Drucker and Richard Nicolello)

Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) and Legislator Arnold Drucker (D-Plainvew) were appointed to a five-member bipartisan committee to select Nassau County’s first inspector general.

The other members of the committee include Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), Deputy Presiding Officer Howard Kopel (R-Lawrence) and Legislator Denise Ford, a registered Democrat from Long Beach who caucuses with the Republican majority.

The selection process comes about three months after the Legislature unanimously approved the bill creating the position in December, and over two years after the Democrats initially called for its creation.

“I am elated that Nassau County will finally have an inspector general,” Drucker said. “This is something the Democratic legislative minority had fought for over the last couple of years. We want to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse from the county’s plagued procurement system in order to protect Nassau’s taxpayers. This is a step forward in the right direction.”

Nicolello was not immediately available to comment on Friday afternoon.

The committee will be responsible for selecting the inspector general, a position which is now open for resume submissions to Michael Pulitzer, clerk of the Nassau County Legislature.

Applications must be received by March 30.

Following the selection, the committee will supervise and act as a liaison with the Office of the Inspector General.

The GOP-controlled Rules Committee first approved a version of the bill calling for the creation of an inspector general that would allow the inspector general to be removed from the position by a majority of the Legislature in December.

The version that ultimately passed a week later requires a supermajority of 13 votes out of 19 to remove the inspector general.

The bill was first introduced in 2015.

Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, a Democrat, proposed an independent inspector general with subpoena power following an investigation into county contract practices.

Indicted Former County Executive Edward Mangano and fellow GOP county legislators opposed the creation of an inspector general, saying that the county’s commissioner of investigations already had the power to oversee contracts.

Mangano is set to appear in court on March 12.

He’s facing federal charges of bribery and extortion for allegedly helping restaurant magnate Harendra Singh receive county contracts in exchange for vacations and a paid position for Mangano’s wife.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran (D-Baldwin) ran on fighting county corruption and made appointing an inspector general one of her top priorities.

The Legislature approved the bill a few weeks before she took office.

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