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Nassau unions turn down settlement offer

Nassau County unions Thursday rejected an offer by County Attorney John Ciampoli to settle their federal lawsuits against the so-called "King Mangano" law, union officials say.

That's how some union members refer to the local law adopted by the Republican-controlled county legislature last month that gives County Executive Edward Mangano authority to unilaterally cut $41 million in spending, including furloughing employees and reducing their contractually-agreed upon benefits. The county's five major unions have asked U.S. District Court Judget Arthur Spatt to declare the law unconstitutional.

Details of Ciampoli's offer were not clear, with some officials saying privately that he proposed a "no layoff agreement" while others said he promised that Mangano would go ahead with a controversial plan to borrow $192 million based on 2004-2005 legislative authorizations.

Mangano needs the spending cuts or borrowing to pay for $41 million in overdue property tax refunds from last year. Democratic lawmakers have refused to approve borrowing for the debt.

"We cannot comment on pending litigation," said Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin when asked about the Ciampoli offer.

John Jaronczyk, president of the Sheriff's Correction Officers Benevolent Association, said, "It's not unusual for lawyers to have conference calls."

But, he added, "The only settlement I want at this time is Judge Spatt's decision saying its unconstitutional."

Jerry Laricchiuta, president of the Civil Service Employees Association, also said he is not looking to settle even as Mangano threatens more layoffs of his members.

"The law is on the books," Laricchiuta said. "I think we need to have it heard before a federal judge to settle it once and for all."

Tags: John Ciampoli , Edward Mangano , John Jaronczyk , Jerry Laricchiuta

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