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Final appointments made to Nassau taxi panel

Rockville Centre Mayor Francis X. Murray, seen here

Rockville Centre Mayor Francis X. Murray, seen here in his office on March 17, 2014, is one of the last two potential members to be added to the nine-member Nassau County Taxi & Limousine Commission. Credit: Tara Conry

The board that will advise Nassau's new Taxi & Limousine Commission is being finalized without any representatives of the app-based ride services it wants to regulate.

County legislators next week will consider the final two appointments to the nine-member board, both recommended by Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow): Rockville Centre Mayor Francis X. Murray and Mineola Village Clerk Joseph R. Scalero.

Of the seven previously appointed members -- the majority of whom were chosen by County Executive Edward Mangano -- four own taxi or limo companies, one has led a large bank's taxi medallion financing program, one owns an electrical cable company, and one is a local resident who uses taxis.

"The candidates I put forward have the best attributes for the positions," said Gonsalves, noting that she did not receive any applications seeking board positions from representatives of the app-based services, such as Uber or Lyft.

Mangano last year pitched creating a stand-alone department to more aggressively regulate the taxi and for-hire vehicle industry. The Taxi & Limousine Commission, which the volunteer board will suggest policy to, will be staffed by up to 10 investigators.

The administration has said that its effort was partly motivated by the rise of Uber and Lyft, which allow people to book independently owned vehicles via smartphone. The county does not currently register those vehicles, nor do they carry the licenses required by each town, village and city.

Uber officials declined to comment Tuesday, but said last month that they hoped Nassau's new board "will engage with all members of the industry from the start." It suggested a single county license for all for-hire vehicles, but taxi company owners on the board say the upstarts should abide by the same rules they already do.

"The Commission is considerate of all companies wishing to do business in Nassau County, as well as the riders who rely on these companies to help them carry on their daily lives," said department commissioner Greg May, noting that both Uber and Lyft met with him and "expressed their desire to work with" Nassau and "bring themselves into compliance with our soon-to-be-updated rules and regulations."

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