Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

The Nassau County Human Rights Commission, an agency riddled with infighting and other problems, has some new leadership, but the agency is still a work in progress.


It’s executive director, Daniel Russell, has been “acting executive director” for almost two years, although he uses the title “executive director” on the agency Web site and at meetings.


The Nassau County Legislature recently approved eight new members nominated by County Executive Edward Mangano to the 13-member panel. They are:

advertisement | advertise on newsday


Marcus Davis of Roosevelt.
Timothy Williams of Oceanside.
Lester Allen of Roosevelt.
Anish Berry of Manhasset Hills.
Immacula Oligario of West Hempstead.
Tariq Shaikh of Manhasset Hills.
Zahid Syed of East Meadow.
Antonio Patino of Seaford.

They join:
Phyllis Rice of Roosevelt.
Angela Davis of Hempstead
Habeeb Ahmed of Albertson.
Shawn Mason of Great Neck.
Rabbi Janet Liss of Glen Cove.
Michelle Baptiste of Freeport
Rodney Brown of Baldwin, chairman

The commission had been adrift for years. Democratic County Executive Thomas Suozzi replaced the entire commission in 2007 after commissioners refused to oust the executive director, Republican Renaire Frierson. The new commissioners fired her several months later, in March 2008.


Russell became acting executive director in May 2008, and while he assumed the title of executive director, he was never elected by the commission members and never approved by the legislature.


(It appears commissioners voted to name him executive director at their meeting last November, but it was never entered into the official minutes of the meeting, so it was not legal.)

advertisement | advertise on newsday


It was unclear whether Russell’s status was discussed when the commissioner met the night of Feb. 22nd. A spokesman for the county executive said in an e-mail reply to questions that, “No action taken on appointing Russell officially.” He did not provide a copy of the meeting minutes, as requested.


The agency’s Web site still said as of Thursday morning that Russell was “executive director” and that the full list of commission members is “Coming Soon!”