EDITORIAL: Nassau's cheap shot at head of MTA

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Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano's call for the resignation of the chief of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is grandstanding at its most craven.

Mangano is blaming the current chairman, Jay Walder, for issues years in the making, such as lavish overtime spending and a fat bureaucracy. Walder, on the job for just 11 months, is targeting these very problems. Mangano, who has blasted the MTA's plan to end its decade-old sweetheart subsidy for Long Island Bus, appears to be trying to distract attention from the challenges of coming up with a 2011 budget, which is due next week.

The county and the MTA are in talks about ending the authority's bus subsidy. MTA officials are asking Nassau to contribute $100 million over the next four years. What better motive for taking an easy political shot at the MTA, which is consistently a source of public outrage, especially with the recent fare hikes and service cuts?

In an odd twist, Mangano is also calling on the three gubernatorial candidates to pledge to fire Walder. The county executive's endgame is unclear, but would it be a surprise if it involved next week's Republican primary vote?

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Mangano's assault isn't going anywhere. Walder, who would be paid more than $750,000 if forced out now, needs political support to pursue his cost-cutting agenda.

Mangano should stop performing for the crowd and focus on a decent budget for Nassau. hN

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