County exec candidate offers plan 'to clean up government'

County executive candidate Adam Haber greets people at County executive candidate Adam Haber greets people at the Nassau County Democrats' annual spring dinner fundraiser at Crest Hollow Country Club. (April 15, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

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Businessman Adam Haber, a Democratic candidate for Nassau County executive, has released a plan "to clean up government" by prohibiting campaign contributions from political appointees, requiring merit-based hiring and limiting elected officials to two official mailings per year.

Haber, who is challenging former County Executive Thomas Suozzi for the Democratic nomination, said his plan would provide taxpayers with a clear picture of government operations and limit the role special interests can play in elections.

The plan, which would apply to all Nassau County elected officials, ensures that governmental "decisions are done for the right reason and not to benefit political insiders," Haber said.

Under the proposal, political appointees and contractors doing business with the county, towns, villages, school districts or special taxing districts would be prohibited from donating to elected officials.

Haber would also require the disclosure of contributions from state or county lobbyists, mandate campaign committees to reveal contributions that are "bundled" from various donors and force corporations and limited liability corporations that give to elected officials to detail their ownership and board members.

County office holders would be prohibited from considering party enrollment in hiring decisions, while lawmakers, appointees and their spouses would be required to post financial disclosure forms detailing their income sources online. Legislators and appointees already file such forms, but they are available only through Freedom of Information Act requests.

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The campaign finance recommendations would require state legislation.

Legislators' official mailings that are not related to public health and emergencies would be limited to two per year, and banned during election cycles, Haber said.

Suozzi's campaign did not respond to requests for comment on Haber's plan.

But Democratic legislative spokesman Michael Florio, who backs Suozzi, said most of Haber's ideas are not new. "Most are already state or county laws and the others were implemented under the Suozzi administration," Florio said.

Brian Nevin, spokesman for County Executive Edward Mangano, said "Haber's plan is merely an attempt to change the debate so that he doesn't have to defend his record of hiking property taxes by millions of dollars and making huge profits off high gasoline prices." Nevin was referring to Haber's time on the Roslyn School Board and his work on Wall Street, where he traded commodities such as oil.

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