It would have been easy to watch the Nassau County Legislature’s Republican majority unanimously return Norma Gonsalves as presiding officer Monday and conclude nothing has changed and nothing ever will. But we refuse to believe that’s the case.
At least one thing has changed already: The state Board of Elections now appears interested in enforcing election laws — and that’s not good news for Gonsalves.
Last month, the board accused the East Meadow Republican of repeatedly failing to file campaign-finance disclosure reports on donations and spending from 2006 to 2015. The 10 counts carry fines of up to $28,000. Gonsalves discussed a settlement with the board, but the sides could not reach an agreement. And her efforts to cast blame on the Nassau County Board of Elections and her campaign treasurer for the failures have been noxious, but no more so than her management of the legislature.
Gonsalves often refuses to bring important bills to the floor for votes. In a county rocked by scandals surrounding contracts and political contributions, she has largely blocked meaningful reform of the system. And she often appears befuddled by legislative procedure and the operations of county government. Every Republican legislator voted for her. No Republican nominated an opponent.
The GOP leaders who’ve become so comfortable using the county and its assets as their personal fiefdoms have mostly had their way for a long time. On Monday, though, they shamelessly supported Gonsalves, who they know is not the leader the weakened legislature and directionless county need.