County legislators, state senators, village mayors, police officers, fire chiefs and school district officials were among the more than 100 mostly angry and confused community leaders who filled North Hempstead Town Hall Tuesday about the Nassau County executive's plan to merge the police Sixth Precinct in Manhasset with the Second Precinct in Woodbury.
Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey, who fielded questions for several hours during the heated gathering that was moderated by North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, said 125 police personnel who have taken retirement incentives can't be replaced because of budget constraints and will save $22 million.
He said it makes sense to consolidate the administrative functions of the two less busy precincts, but added, "The plan is not finalized."
Many criticized County Executive Edward Mangano, saying he did not provide adequate information. They also questioned why he did not attend Tuesday's meeting.
"To date, this is the extent of what we've received in writing," said Legis. Wayne Wink (D-Roslyn), holding up Newsday's Saturday cover.
"I am very, very angry to be here today," said the county legislature's minority leader, Diane Yatauro (D-Glen Cove), calling Mangano's plan a "backdoor deal."
During a phone interview after the meeting, Mangano called the criticism "highly politically motivated." He said that while he could not attend the meeting on short notice, he sent a representative best suited to address questions: Mulvey.
Mangano said he looked to combine the Sixth and Second precincts because they have fewer caseloads than the First, Third or Fifth precincts.
He said only one car services the village, and the Woodbury precinct is 17 miles away.
Mulvey said the same amount of officers and patrol cars will remain under the plan, but that there will be one commanding officer for both precincts.
Kaiman said any implication that the meeting was politically motivated is "disturbing."
"To challenge us for asking questions is not fair," he said.