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Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano’s speech decoded

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano gives his State

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano gives his State of the County speech at the Museum of American Armor in Old Bethpage on Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Nassau Executive Edward Mangano during his State of the County address Tuesday rightfully touted many of the accomplishments of his six years in office.

Among them:

Nassau was quick to respond to the region’s heroin-overdose epidemic, going into communities and training residents on how to administer naloxone, an opiate antidote.

Nassau broke through local opposition to support creation of multiple-housing developments and housing near train stations — the kind of more affordable starter housing young Long Islanders say they want.

The county also moved swiftly after superstorm Sandy to push its industrial development agency into giving tax breaks to small businesses. The tactic helped businesses in many communities to come back faster.

And Nassau created a land bank to potentially acquire some of the so-called zombie homes abandoned by owners across the region during the economic downturn.

He talked about the successful growth of the region’s entertainment-related businesses, as evidenced by the response to “The Wiz,” the latest live musical broadcast from studios in Bethpage. And he said the county is bringing in jobs and doing what it can to keep businesses from moving.

In aiming high, however, Mangano also left a few things unsaid.

He mentioned that the county’s finances — still subject to state oversight — were improving. But not that there was a continuing deficit, one that likely will require more borrowing until the county can tap more revenue.

He praised the county’s police department for keeping Nassau’s crime rate low. He didn’t talk about the implosion of the administration’s ambitious precinct consolidation plan, which was supposed to help save money.

He mentioned reforms to the county’s contracting process, among them the executive order he signed last year to have vendors disclose their lobbying efforts.

But Mangano didn’t mention the catalyst: A Nassau contract with AbTech Industries that was at the center of the federal corruption conviction of former state Sen. Dean Skelos and his son, Adam. Both are appealing.

Nor did Mangano note the fact that his chief deputy county executive Robert Walked has acknowledged being under federal investigation for how he handled some contracts.

Mangano mentioned an independent panel that he had review Nassau’s contracting process.

Mangano, who says he has not collected contributions from county vendors since Skelos was indicted last year, in his speech also pressed state lawmakers in Albany for public financing of elections.

But he neglected to mention that, so far, he’s ignored one key recommendation from his independent panel — limiting vendor contributions to Nassau’s elected officials, a change the county likely could make on its own.

Mangano noted several partnerships that the county has entered into with private businesses. Among the most financially successful is a contract with Armor Correctional Health Services, the jail’s private health care vendor.

He failed to mention complaints by the state Commission of Correction about the quality of care at the jail in the wake of inmate deaths.

All of which leaves Mangano’s administration with challenges — even as it, one night of the year, rightfully celebrates its successes.

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