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Nearly 40,000 tickets issued for school zone speed violations since late July — when Nassau began the rollout of a new program to catch motorists caught on camera speeding past schools — were a hot topic at county Republican chairman Joseph Mondello’s annual golf outing last Monday, according to several people who attended the event.
One reason is that at least three Republican officials had received tickets and were steamed, much like other county residents. “People feel like they were entrapped,” said one Republican who attended the outing at the Hempstead Golf & Country Club.
County legislators also had received complaints from constituents, who said they had no idea cameras were operating during the summer. For instance, Dominic DiPrisco of Massapequa told Newsday that he called his legislator, Michael Venditto (R-Massapequa), after his 82-year-old mother received five tickets. He said he left this message: “I’ve been a registered Republican but you can count my vote out.”
But the angry discussions at the high-powered GOP event had nothing to do with Mangano’s decision Friday to dismiss all violations issued before school starts next month, a spokesman said.
“That's an outrageous question. Absolutely not!” Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin said in an email.
Mondello spokesman Anthony Santino said the ticket program “was not part of any discussion that I was part of or I was aware of” at the outing.
Mangano told Newsday on Friday that he decided to declare amnesty on the tickets after discovering that about 10,000 had been issued in error. “I don't have a high confidence level that the cameras were operating at statutory levels,” he said.
However, his administration as late as Thursday afternoon had still been planning to process those tickets. Chief Deputy Rob Walker put out a memorandum, obtained by Newsday, asking for full-time county employees to volunteer to work overtime at the Traffic and Parking Violations Bureau “to temporarily supplement its staff” because of the new traffic cameras.
Nevin offered no comment on the memo.