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Mangano fires 6 on Assessment Review Commission

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano speaks in Long

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano speaks in Long Beach. (January 3, 2010) Credit: Ed Betz

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano has purged the Assessment Review Commission of the six last-minute appointments by his predecessor, Thomas Suozzi.

The six were given letters of termination late Thursday and were told they could contest their firing, if they wished, at a hearing next week, county officials said.

The commissioners who were fired signed a letter formally requesting that hearing and hand-delivered it late Friday, according to Michael Martino, spokesman for Mangano.

Mangano intends to replace the six with his own appointees, who will be paid less and will be in tune with his priorities, according to a copy of the termination letter.

Those terminated included two full-time commissioners, who earned $130,000: Dermot Kelly and Kevin O'Donnell, and four part-timers who earned between $20,000 and $75,000.

Mangano has made fixing the assessment system a top priority, and "to achieve these goals, the county executive must select his own commissioners of ARC to promote and implement the new administration's plans and policies," his letter read.

Suozzi, now a consultant for Cablevision, which owns Newsday, could not be reached for comment.

The chairman of the state and county Democratic Party, Jay Jacobs, said he thought Mangano did not have the authority to fire the six because they were appointed to fixed terms and did not serve at the pleasure of the appointing officer.

The ARC appointments were a small part of a package of more than 40 last-minute nominations to various boards by Suozzi that were approved by the Nassau County Legislature on Dec. 21. It was the last meeting Democrats presided as the majority after losing two seats in the November election.

The new Republican presiding officer of the legislature, Peter Schmitt of Massapequa, has asked the county attorney to recommend to Mangano that he nullify 18 contracts or other measures approved in the final days of Democratic control because, Schmitt says, they were rushed through in violation of legislative rules.

Shortly after Suozzi took office in January 2002, he fired the seven sitting members of the Assessment Review Commission. "I did because tax reductions grievances are the single biggest threat facing Nassau County," Suozzi said at the time.

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