2 ex-Nassau officials lash out at lawmakers

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Two former officials, fired from Nassau government, accused county legislative members Wednesday of playing politics with their lives by not voting on settlement agreements reached months ago by the county attorney and their lawyer.

The two Republican women vowed to go to trial if the legislature fails to act.

"Absolutely, I am ready to go to trial," said Robin Pellegrini, 61, of Garden City. She is the former director of housing who was fired in 2002 after blowing the whistle on her direct supervisor, Peter Sylver, a deputy for then County Executive Thomas Suozzi, a Democrat.

Former executive director of the county's Human Rights Commission Renaire Frierson, 52, of Freeport, was fired in 2008, during Suozzi's second term. She said: "I have not stuck with this this long to give up now. I'm ready to go to trial."

She is not the only one with a tough attitude.

Nassau Legislature Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) has indicated that she won't call either case to the floor unless she gets unanimity from the Democrats on each. This, despite the settlement agreement by the Republican administration of County Executive Edward Mangano.

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"To the extent a bipartisan commitment towards the resolution of these cases is not achievable, both cases will have to be tried in open court before a jury," she said.

Pellegrini was to get $1.7 million and Frierson, $895,000, under the agreements. Each had sued for about $70 million.

Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) said when Gonsalves puts the cases on the calendar "our caucus will provide the votes necessary to pass them and the necessary bonds."

The GOP has a 10-9 majority but bonding needs 13 votes.

Frierson, a former deputy mayor of Freeport, claimed she was fired because she was black, female and a Republicanhad been criticized for several reasons, including lax oversight of staff.

"Both parties are playing games with these women's lives," their lawyer Fred Brewington said. "We are preparing to go to court, where we will air the county's dirty laundry."

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