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Mangano names woman as Nassau public works chief

Incoming Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano Wednesday said he will appoint the first woman to head the county public works department when he takes office Jan. 1.

At a news conference in Mineola, Mangano introduced Shila Shah-Gavnoudias, 38, of Bellmore, as his choice for the $135,850-a-year job.

Shah-Gavnoudias has worked the past decade as a project manager in the design group at LiRo Engineers of Syosset. Before that, she was a civil engineer with Shah Associates Inc. of Bellmore.

Mangano said the new commissioner will bring "professional excellence" to the job. She holds a master's in engineering management and a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Polytechnic University in Brooklyn.

"I'm thrilled and honored," Shah-Gavnoudias said. "I'm anxious to get to work."

Marc Herbst, executive director of the Long Island Contractor's Association, described the new commissioner as "a real pro." He said he was looking forward to working with her to "get this 30 percent unemployment number down in the construction industry."

While Shah-Gavnoudias is coming from LiRo, many former county public works officials have gone to work for the engineering firm, including County Executive Thomas Suozzi's first public works commissioner, Peter Gerbasi. Mangano defeated Suozzi, a two-term incumbent Democrat, in an election that was not certified until two weeks ago.

Also at the news conference was Ray Ribeiro, Suozzi's current public works commissioner. Mangano said Ribeiro will be helping in the transition for the next two months and "perhaps may have a very bright future here in Nassau County." He said Shah-Gavnoudias will receive the same salary as Ribeiro now earns.

Ribeiro and Mangano took Shah-Gavnoudias on a tour of the $30 million renovation under way in the former county administration building at 1 West St. in Mineola. Part of Suozzi's real estate consolidation plan, the work is expected to be paid for through borrowing and the sale of excess county property.

"We're going to review all of this," Mangano said.

He also confirmed the appointment of John Ciampoli as county attorney. He said Ciampoli will earn $142,643, the same as Suozzi's county attorney, Lorna Goodman.

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