The chairman of NuHealth's board of directors -- who voted to hire the current chief executive -- has resigned to take a full-time position as special assistant to NuHealth, which runs Nassau University Medical Center.

Craig Rizzo, who until Monday was a medical malpractice lawyer for the Mineola law firm Bartlett, McDonough, Bastone & Monaghan, announced his resignation as chairman, a voluntary position, in a letter to Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano Monday.

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"We look forward to working with Craig Rizzo," Dr. Victor Politi, chief executive of NuHealth, said in a statement Tuesday. "He brings years of institutional knowledge as well as vast health care, labor and contract negotiation experience."

Rizzo announced in January that the 15-member board voted unanimously to make Politi, then Nassau's acting police commissioner, chief executive of the financially struggling NuHealth, which serves the county's most vulnerable patients. Politi replaced Arthur Gianelli, appointed in 2006 by then-County Executive Thomas Suozzi, a Democrat. Gianelli was ousted in November by Mangano, a Republican.

NuHealth, a public benefit corporation also known as the Nassau Health Care Corp., runs Nassau University Medical Center, A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility and five clinics that serve the poor.

Politi said Rizzo will focus on legal issues "regarding health care, contracts and labor" as well as "other assignments as deemed appropriate."

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Mangano named Rizzo as chairman of NuHealth in May 2010. Katie Grilli-Robles, a spokeswoman for Mangano, said the county executive will decide on Rizzo's replacement "in the coming days."