Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano has quietly hired a former law associate, Patrick Foye of Port Washington, to head the county's economic development efforts.
Foye, who since Jan. 1 had been an unpaid adviser on property tax assessment, was hired effective Feb. 16 as a $142,643-a-year deputy county executive for economic development, according to payroll records obtained by Newsday.
Mangano's press secretary Michael Martino had denied as recently as March 2 that Foye had been hired.
"It was a miscommunication, nothing more," Martino said Wednesday. "No paycheck has been drawn yet, and the paperwork has not been completed. Let's not make this a negative. Pat Foye joining the Mangano administration is a coup for the taxpayers of Nassau County."
Desmond Ryan, head of the business-oriented Association for a Better Long Island, praised the appointment.
"He can immerse himself in great detail and comprehend the most complex aspects of things, and he knows how to implement a strategy," Ryan said.
"I have seen in him administrative capabilities I have not seen in a public servant in a long time."Foye had been an attorney with Rivkin Radler, a law firm based in Uniondale, where Mangano also had worked until he became county executive at the start of this year.
Foye said early in January that he was on leave from the law firm and would take no salary from the county while he worked on reforming the tax assessment system.
His duties included heading an Assessment Review Team, made up mostly of industry professionals, who will make recommendations to Mangano by the end of June on how to fix the assessment system.
The lone member of that panel with no connection to the industry, Garden City homeowner Robert Orosz, Wednesday said he was unaware that Foye had become a county employee. He said he was unsure whether it would affect the panel's work.
His voter registration form has no party identification, and his only sizable campaign contributions in recent years was $1,000 to Mangano on May 4 2009, before Mangano formally announced his candidacy, according to state Board of Election records.
With Celeste Hadrick