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Nassau Democrats propose cutting salary of county executive

Democrats in the Nassau County Legislature have submitted amendments to county’s 2014 budget, including reducing the salary of the county executive and merging the offices of the comptroller and the county treasurer.

The 22 budget amendments, which were submitted on Tuesday, would save taxpayers more than $26 million by streamlining operations and reducing salaries, Democratic officials said.

“Our amendments are intended to present an accurate and feasible plan to move Nassau forward with a true balanced budget,” said Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport).

The GOP controls the legislature by a 10-9 advantage. Past Democratic budget amendments have not secured the GOP votes needed for passage.

Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) declined to comment on the amendments.

The Democratic amendments include a provision that would reduce the salary of the county executive by $65,000.

The salary of Nassau’s highest office holder was increased by $65,000 in 2007 by a legislative task force, which said then-Democratic County Executive Thomas Suozzi was paid less than Suffolk’s executive.

Republican County Executive Edward Mangano, who defeated Suozzi in 2009, has continued to accept the same $174,000 salary. Mangano declined to comment on the Democrats amendments.

The wage increase, meanwhile, has become a talking point of both Mangano and Suozzi, who will square off in a rematch on Nov. 5.

The Democrats would also merge the comptroller’s office with the treasurer’s office, realigning administrative responsibilities and eliminating eight appointed positions.

Other Democratic amendments would change the schedule of the Assessment Reform Commission to complete their review of applications; reduce outside legal contracts, cut the salaries of legislative staffers, and trim the County Clerk’s budget by 15 percent.

In addition, the Democrats proposed increasing funding by $40 million to pay out tax refunds from the county’s operating budget, rather than borrowing to fund the majority of the refunds.

  

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