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Assembly speaker nominates Howard Weitzman for NIFA board

Former Nassau County Comptroller Howard Weitzman on Sept.

Former Nassau County Comptroller Howard Weitzman on Sept. 16, 2013. Credit: Steve Pfost

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has recommended that former Democratic Nassau County Comptroller Howard Weitzman fill a vacancy on the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state monitoring board that controls the county’s finances.

But a spokesman for County Executive Edward Mangano objected to the pick, arguing that former elected officials should be prohibited from serving on the board because of the appearance that they are pushing a “political agenda.”

Weitzman, a CPA and former partner in the KPMG accounting firm, would replace Adam Haber, a Democrat who left the board last month to run for the State Senate seat that will be vacated in November as Sen. Jack Martins (R-Old Westbury), runs for Congress.

Heastie (D-Bronx) submitted Weitzman’s name to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for approval last month, said Assembly spokesman Michael Whyland.

“Howard Weitzman is a dedicated public servant with years of experience, and I am proud to advance him as our choice to fill the vacancy on the NIFA board,” Heastie said.

Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi said the nomination is “undergoing the normal review process.”

Under NIFA law, the governor appoints four members of the seven-member panel while the state comptroller, the Senate majority leader and the Assembly speaker each get one recommendation.

If appointed, Weitzman, 70, of North Hills, said his priority would be getting the county “into fiscal balance, which means bringing in revenue to cover expenses or reducing expenses to match revenue. It’s something the county has not done in a long time.”

Weitzman served as comptroller from 2001 to 2009, when he lost to Republican George Maragos. Weitzman made another run for his old post in 2013 but lost again to Maragos.

Earlier this year, Weitzman expressed interest in succeeding NIFA chairman Jon Kaiman, a Democrat who left the board to run for the seat held by Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), who is not running for re-election. Cuomo, however, appointed former New York City budget chief Adam Barsky as NIFA chair.

Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin said the revolving door of NIFA members running for office must end. “Candidates for office should be banned from serving on the NIFA board as there is a clear conflict of interest and an appearance of advancing their own political agenda rather than making constructive policies to advance the county,” he said.

Weitzman said he has no intention to run for office again but plans to continue as a paid part-time financial consultant for the Town of North Hempstead. Weitzman said he would quit the North Hempstead post if recommended by NIFA’s counsel.

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