Mangano terminates County Attorney John Ciampoli

Nassau County Commissioner of Investigations and County Attorney Nassau County Commissioner of Investigations and County Attorney John Ciampoli calls upon the Nassau County District Attorney to investigate apparent criminal misconduct by Nassau County Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams, the Democrat Legislative Caucus, and their Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, who won re-election by a decisive margin earlier this month, has abruptly terminated his county attorney John Ciampoli, a former elections lawyer for the Republican-controlled State Senate.

Ciampoli informed his staff of his departure in a farewell letter Wednesday. Mangano named Parks Commissioner Carnell Foskey, a former Family Court judge, to serve as acting county attorney, pending his confirmation for the job by the county legislature. Foskey began in his new position Wednesday.

Mangano gave no explanation for replacing Ciampoli except to say that he is considering a reshuffling of all county departments.

"The administration is re-evaluating each position within the county during this transition period to ensure government is operating efficiently and effectively for the residents of Nassau County," said Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin.

One shift involves two of the county's largest departments, Nevin said. "In an effort to save taxpayer dollars, the administration will soon begin a new pilot program in which parks department operations will be supervised by the Department of Public Works." He gave no further details.

Ciampoli said Wednesday he was considering his options.

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"The county executive has talked to me about some special projects to work on," he said. "I'm considering that. I'm considering other opportunities in the private sector and in between. We'll see how it all works . . . I've just got to figure out what's next."

Ciampoli was an initial member of Mangano's inner circle, hired after he supervised the election recount four years ago when Mangano won by less than 400 votes.

During his tenure, Ciampoli often pushed unconventional interpretations of county law.

He suggested the county could redraw legislative districts in 2011 instead of the expected 2013 -- a move rejected by the state's highest court. He challenged the authority of a state financial oversight board to take control of the county's finances but lost in state court. An appellate court overturned Nassau's attempt to eliminate the so-called county guarantee requiring the county to pay property tax refunds on behalf of the towns and schools. The county is appealing. Ciampoli also led a so-far-unsuccessful challenge to the MTA payroll tax.

Ciampoli scored some big wins. In 2012, a federal jury found that seven former Nassau detectives acted in good faith when they arrested three former Lynbrook men for the 1984 rape and murder of 16-year-old Theresa Fusco. The three men had spent 17 years behind bars for the crime before being released from prison in 2003 when newly discovered DNA failed to match their DNA profiles.

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