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Nassau Comptroller George Maragos did not attend Monday’s special legislative meeting in which county lawmakers were asked to approve union agreements that would lift a three-year wage freeze even though he issued an analysis of the deals a week earlier.
Usually, on items expected to have a large impact on county finances, the county administration presents its view, the comptroller gives his analysis and the legislature’s Office of Budget Review gives a report. Maragos was missing from the line-up on Monday.
A Maragos spokesman said the comptroller did not attend because “they never asked George to be there.” Spokesman Jostyn Hernandez said a comptroller's representative attended the session but lawmakers “didn’t say make sure you’re here.”
When asked why Maragos was not invited, Cristina Brennan, a spokeswoman for Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow), said, normally, County Executive Edward Mangano’s office brings in the witnesses. “I think we expected him to be there,” she said of Maragos.
“When the public notice goes out from the clerk’s office, that’s how he’s invited," she said. "Normal protocol is, if he puts in an analysis, he would come. He’s not given a special invitation.”
Deputy County Executive Ed Ward, a former top aide to the late Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa), said the administration provides the appropriate witnesses for routine items on the agenda. But for public hearings and special meetings, he said, “the invitation list comes from the presiding officer. Schmitt never would have allowed the (former Thomas) Suozzi administration or the Mangano administration to pick the witness list.”