How officials cloaked a small Nassau project in conflicting answers

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It was a simple question: Why were Nassau County employees and equipment at the soccer fields by the Plainedge High School on Aug. 23?

A Civil Service Employees Association spokesman confirmed the next day that union members had been working there because the county, which owns a nearby recharge basin, agreed to put in walkways around the fields to prevent people from slipping in the mud.

County Executive Edward Mangano’s press office did not respond to repeated questions about the work until aide Brian Nevin said in an email Friday: “The soccer fields are county property and work was being performed to improve pedestrian safety on and around the fields.” He said an existing lease agreement requires the county to address “several safety concerns that present liability to the taxpayer” but offered no details.

Douglas Pascarella, a Mangano staff assistant and a member of the Plainedge School Board, referred questions to school superintendent Edward Salino, who issued a statement saying, “To the best of the district's knowledge there were no Nassau County workers or Nassau County equipment on the Plainedge High School soccer field on Aug. 23, 2012.”

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