Does Bo Dietl, a former officer and detective with the NYPD who last pulled a shift there 30 years ago, know how to analyze police department consolidations? There's no evidence that he does.
But it doesn't really matter. The story line that there could be a merger of the Freeport and Hempstead village departments into the Nassau County Police Department is pure fiction. Leaders in those villages had never heard about such a plan.
What Dietl and his best friends -- like former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, whom he runs into at the clubby Rao's restaurant in East Harlem -- know best is how to get paid.CartoonMatt Davies' latest cartoon: Universal coverageCommentSubmit your letterReader essaysGet published in Newsday
To pay his pals and the pals of his pals to do unnecessary work, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano must keep the tab under $25,000 to avoid legislative scrutiny. Dietl got paid $24,947 for a 2011 contract to evaluate security at the Cedar Creek Sewage Treatment Plant in Seaford, and now he's waiting on $24,000 he was promised to study dissolving the village police forces, a decision totally at the discretion of village trustees.
In his "study," Dietl said village households could save about $1,000 a year with the consolidation, but later said he wasn't sure. According to the figures, that's about right. But if the villages dissolved their forces, residents would have to begin paying county district police taxes, which, according to officials, average $776 per household annually.
Dietl did a shoddy job on the 13-page analysis, a mostly cut-and-paste report that is riddled with typographical errors. And with the Nassau County district attorney saying the report may have been plagiarized, "shoddy" might be giving Dietl's work more credit than it deserves.
Dietl is tight with the Nassau GOP establishment, and after all, it is their county. Any money that comes into their county, any jobs, any contracts, is theirs to dispense as they wish. The taxpayers and voters? They're just speed bumps to be ignored when possible and duped when necessary.
That's why the county is at the center of a federal investigation into a $12 million contract to use sponges to filter wastewater. That contract allegedly was granted in exchange for a job for the son of Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) when the father was State Senate majority leader.
That's why the county bought the former Brooklyn Water Works property in Freeport from Oheka Castle owner Gary Melius for an outrageous $6 million. It also tried to buy a one-acre lot in Old Bethpage from the county's deputy parks commissioner, Frank Camerlengo, for $800,000 -- until Newsday and the voters got wind of it. Both Melius and Camerlengo are supporters who needed the money.
Dietl was paid for the sewage plant report, another 13-page gem that a Department of Public Works spokeswoman said county officials were "satisfied with."
Dietl, a media talking head and pitchman for Arby's, hasn't gotten paid yet for his police consolidation report. Now that legislative Democrats are making a stink, perhaps those who think the county is theirs for the plucking can be stopped before feeding time. At least this once.
CORRECTION: The original version of this editorial erroneously stated that Nassau County had refused to release a report written by former NYPD Det. Bo Dietl about security at the Cedar Creek Sewage Treatment Plant. That report was released by the county last week. The editorial has been updated.