A deputy Nassau County executive is the newest member of the MTA's board of directors.

Patrick Foye, deputy county executive for economic development, participated in his first Metropolitan Transportation Authority board meeting Wednesday. He was officially appointed as the Nassau representative on the MTA board late last month.

"I know a fair amount, but I have a lot to learn," Foye, 53, of Sands Point, said in an interview. "The MTA is a tremendously important transportation and economic development agency. It is one of the bedrocks upon which the economy of the New York region is built. And that includes the bedrock of the Long Island economy."

The 17-member MTA board had been without an appointee from Nassau since September, when David Mack resigned amid accusations that he had failed to cooperate with an investigation into improper political influence in the State Police, with which Mack held the unsalaried position of deputy superintendent, facilities management. Mack, a real estate developer, was first appointed to the MTA board by then-Gov. George Pataki in 1993.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano hired Foye, a former attorney with his old law firm, in February. Foye once was the head of downstate economic development under Gov. Eliot Spitzer and helped spearhead plans for the future Patrick Moynihan train station in Manhattan.

"I've known Pat a long time. He's a tremendous person and a very dedicated public servant," said Mitchell Pally, the Suffolk representative on the MTA board. "It's very important to have two votes for Long Island."

Foye joins the board as the MTA continues to battle an unprecedented fiscal crisis that has resulted in service cuts and layoffs at the Long Island Rail Road and Long Island Bus, which is owned by Nassau County.

Foye said it is important for board members to be "vigilant watchdogs of taxpayers' and commuters' funds," especially during these "very challenging times."

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