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Long IslandNassau

Clerk candidate, incumbent trade barbs

Nassau County Clerk candidate Laura Gillen Thursday accused her opponent, incumbent Maureen O'Connell, of failing to cooperate with independent auditors and allowing her office's record-keeping practices to fall behind other counties -- charges the clerk adamantly denied.

Gillen, a Democrat who is running against Republican O'Connell in the Nov. 5 election, issued a statement that accused O'Connell of "stonewalling" internal auditors. Nassau residents have been "left in the dark" about O'Connell's response to the audit, Gillen said.

"It's a county-run business and it should be run like a business," said Gillen, who alleged in her statement that O'Connell has "obscured all transparency" in the clerk's office.

O'Connell dismissed Gillen's charges. She said she and her staff met with the auditors again in 2011 -- a meeting that resulted in "their complete satisfaction" with the office's operations.

O'Connell, the clerk since 2005, said Gillen's accusations illustrate that she is "not qualified for public office." The claims show a "lack of knowledge" about the clerk's office, she said.

"My opponent doesn't know what she's talking about and did faulty research," O'Connell said.

O'Connell, 62, of East Williston is also running on the Conservative and Independence lines.

Gillen, 44, of Rockville Centre, is also running on the Working Families line.

Gillen's statement also said O'Connell has allowed Nassau to fall "far behind other counties in embracing technology." Other counties in the state have websites that allow residents to perform more thorough searches of land records, Gillen said.

"That hasn't happened in Nassau County at all," Gillen said.

O'Connell said Gillen's accusations are unfair because Nassau was one of a half-dozen "pilot counties" in the state that participated in a program to begin electronic filing of documents. The pilot program began about eight years ago and has been a success, she said.


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