Letter: Nassau's no-bid Sandy contract

A company headed by the sister of Shila A company headed by the sister of Shila Shah-Gavnoudias, Nassau's public works commissioner, received a $250,000 contract from the county after superstorm Sandy for engineering and inspection services, including oversight of tree debris removal countywide. (Dec. 26, 2009) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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After reading the well-reported "Official's sister given contract" [News, April 25], the first thing that came to mind was, this wouldn't have happened on Peter Schmitt's watch. While the late presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature was as partisan as they come, no one was more protective of, or well-versed in, the legislature's independent role as the watchdog of the taxpayers' money. Not having a disclosure statement would have been fatal to a contract of any size or importance under his watch as minority leader or presiding officer.

Nor would this have happened when Judy Jacobs was presiding officer. Her independence, as evidenced by her public hearings on alleged ethical violations by Suozzi administration officials, would have stopped this contract in its tracks.

Let's hope the current presiding officer will use her power to get to the bottom of this troubling situation, and find out who decided that a no-bid contract given to the sister of the public works commissioner didn't need a disclosure form.

Jeff Toback, Oceanside

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Editor's note: The writer was a Democratic member of the Nassau County Legislature from 2000 to 2010.

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