Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano has seasonal county employees going door-to-door to distribute fliers touting his record in office in a "summer outreach" program that District Attorney Kathleen Rice is investigating.
News of the program began circulating on Facebook pages and in emails on Friday after some Baldwin residents received visits from workers who handed out county-funded fliers saying that Mangano, a Republican who is running for re-election, held down property taxes and eliminated a home energy tax.
"The DA's office received complaints about this matter Tuesday and we are investigating to determine if the reported conduct constitutes a criminal misuse of taxpayer resources or county personnel," said John Byrne, a spokesman for Rice, a Democrat running for re-election.
Deputy County Executive Ed Ward said 10 seasonal employees from the parks department and citizen services are distributing informational material in a "summer outreach" to residents in flood-zone areas affected by superstorm Sandy.
Ward said the workers distribute a packet of as many as 20 fliers and brochures about various services, including a hurricane-readiness pamphlet for the start of storm season. He said the flier that recites Mangano's record is on top.
Ward said there is nothing inappropriate about the activity.
"This is [the county] version of the mobile office, hearings in the post office or setting up informational booths in veterans halls or libraries," Ward said.
A spokesman for Democratic county legislators complained that the flier with Mangano's record merely repeats his campaign slogans. "What does repealing the energy tax have to do with Sandy?" asked Michael Florio. "Mangano is hiring campaign workers on the government dime."
Ward said the lead flier clearly states: "Bringing government to you," and offers residents a website address to register for Sandy aid. It is the only mention of Sandy.
The flier features a photo of Mangano speaking to two residents, with the caption "Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, Making Nassau More Affordable." It then relates Mangano's claims about his record, including that he cut spending and "created and retained" private sector jobs.
In a "Dear neighbor" letter on another page, Mangano repeats the recitation of his record and says he has improved parks and playgrounds and assigned more police officers to patrol duties.
Because of continuing rains, the workers have only gone out only twice, Ward said.
Former County Executive Thomas Suozzi and businessman Adam Haber are in a primary for the Democratic nomination to challenge Mangano in November.