Editorial: Same verdict -- Nassau numbers don't add up

A meeting of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority A meeting of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority in Uniondale. (Oct. 9, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

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You can't always get what you want -- Nassau County edition.

The first meeting of Nassau's reconstituted fiscal control board on Wednesday evening wasn't much different from those of the old board. The same warning was sent to County Executive Edward Mangano: Your budget numbers don't work.

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And the Nassau Interim Finance Authority nailed the renegotiated police contract as mercilessly as a red-light camera videotaping a right turn without a full stop. The comments of board members signaled that any contracts, either the Police Benevolent Association's or those with other unions, that negate the $230 million in labor savings from NIFA's wage freeze will be unacceptable.

NIFA chair Jon Kaiman and two other new board appointees made their debut at a two-hour session that was sharply critical of Mangano's proposals. According to NIFA, Mangano will end 2013 with a $100-million deficit, and its preliminary review of the 2014 budget projects a gap of $122 million. NIFA insisted again that Mangano find ways other than borrowing to pay $300 million in overdue tax refunds.

NIFA found that Mangano's budget gaps get wider in the out years: $157 million in 2015, $190 million in 2016 and $255 million in 2017. The 2000 state law that created the control board to rescue Nassau from the edge of default requires the county to submit multiyear budgets for review. This way NIFA can protect bondholders and ensure that municipal financial woes won't be masked and kicked down the road.

On Wednesday, NIFA deemed unacceptable the deal Mangano just signed with the PBA that guts the control board's wage freeze and repays all of the saved money to the police. After NIFA's dim view of that deal last month, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo gave in to Mangano's pleas to replace longtime chair Ronald Stack.

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But even with a new umpiring crew, Mangano is still called out at the plate.

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