Dan Janison has been a reporter at Newsday since 1997.
When John Ciampoli became Nassau's $141,000-a-year county attorney two years ago, he was already well-known in state political circles as a leading election lawyer for the New York Republicans. But beside his county duties, Ciampoli still plays a partisan role off-hours, as shown last week in a Brooklyn courtroom.
On Wednesday, Ciampoli appeared before State Supreme Court Justice David Schmidt on behalf of David Storobin, the GOP State Senate candidate in Brooklyn's 27th District who ran in a special election against the heavily favored Democratic City Councilman Lew Fidler. The vote the previous day proved so close, no winner is yet declared. The case involves a continuing ballot count.
Ciampoli said Friday he'd "probably take some more of my [vacation] time to oversee what goes on down there." While the county attorney usually approves outside practice -- long allowed in Nassau -- Ciampoli said he ran this matter past County Executive Edward Mangano for approval.
Although the 27th District was reshuffled under the legislative redistricting that takes effect in the fall, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) would like to have Storobin raise his conference's number to 33 and show the potential to win city seats.
Part of the courtroom case centers on methods of tallying computer-counted paper ballots, and the potential similarities and differences between Nassau and New York City election-board practice have come up.
Across Nassau's partisan divide, Jay Jacobs, the state and county Democratic chairman, caustically remarked: "Since he's done such a bang-up job representing Nassau County, losing millions on virtually every case, I am confident he will do as well on the Brooklyn recount while he should be on the job here in Nassau."GO FIGURE: The Cuomo administration reports that, out of a statewide $80 billion-plus 30-year savings due to the new pension tier, Long Islanders will benefit by $12.8 billion. So, we asked, the projected total pension cost falls from what to what? No answer yet. Newsday's Ted Phillips reports no such cost estimate has been circulated in Albany. Officials apparently arrived at a $60 billion savings for the state and local governments outside New York City assuming an annual 4.1 percent increase in wages and 4 percent annual employee turnover. Then New York City estimated its savings at more than $20 billion, and the two figures were added together for a projection one would figure to be, by its nature, a bit squishy.