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Mangano takes oath and fulfills first campaign promise

Ed Mangano with his wife, Linda, and sons,

Ed Mangano with his wife, Linda, and sons, Sal And Alex, by his side, is sworn in as the new Nassau County executive at Bethpage High School. (Jan. 1, 2010) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Republican Edward Patrick Mangano, a veteran but little-known county legislator from Bethpage, was sworn in Friday as Nassau County executive after his surprise November victory.

The ceremony at Bethpage High School was bathed in the small-town totems and values that Mangano talks about often.

Outside, a large American flag hung from a cable strung between the elevated ladders of two fire trucks. Inside, volunteer firefighters almost outnumbered politicians, military veterans were prominent, and Mangano's wife, Linda, almost upstaged her husband by drawing louder and more prolonged applause from the hometown crowd.

>> VIDEO: Edward Mangano sworn in as Nassau County Executive

After taking the oath of office surrounded by his family, Mangano stepped to the podium and bent over slightly, then lifted his head and announced that he had just signed legislation repealing the 2.5 percent sales tax on home energy use that was enacted at his predecessor's request last June.

Mangano said he had promised during the campaign that he would repeal the tax, and he did just that before his inaugural address, signing legislation at the podium that the legislature passed hurriedly last month.

He said he also has signed an executive order establishing a team of officials to revamp the widely criticized system for assessing the value of homes and businesses for tax purposes.

Thomas Suozzi, the two-term Democratic incumbent who lost to Mangano, has said that he left behind a $2.6-billion budget for this year that is balanced. Mangano said, without elaboration, that the budget "is filled with one-shot, temporary measures."

And Mangano said the county could be facing a whopping budget gap of $400 million for 2011 when much of the current federal stimulus funding ends.

Farther north, Gov. David A. Paterson - asked for advice for Mangano - said Friday: Don't repeat the borrowing mistakes of former Republican County Executive Thomas Gulotta, recalling Nassau's borrowing under Gulotta in the 1990s.

"My advice to him, and I think he already knows it . . . is not to try to solve the county's problems by over-borrowing, which is what got the county in so much trouble about 15 years ago," the Democratic governor told Newsday.

Mangano press secretary Michael Martino said, "We appreciate the governor's sage advice and rest assured we have no intentions of repeating the sins of the past. We are looking forward to working with the governor and the Senate and Assembly to take care of our problems."

Aides to Mangano pointed out that he invited several prominent Democrats who were in attendance, including Sen. Charles Schumer and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, in an effort to strike a bipartisan tone.

Mangano cited the Korean War service of his father, John, as one of the reasons he will place a special emphasis on military veterans.

"We will work hard to ensure that no veteran will be homeless, or go hungry. This is the least we can do to thank them for their sacrifices," he said.

The speech drew on a number of sources, including Dr. Seuss on the power of optimism, "We succeed, yes indeed, 98 and three-quarters guaranteed."

And he concluded the speech with a reference from a much earlier Republican.

"I am honored to be your county executive, and to be given this opportunity to serve," Mangano said. "Abe Lincoln once said, 'Whatever you are, be a good one.' I promise to be a good one."

With James T. Madore

>> VIDEO: Edward Mangano sworn in as Nassau County Executive

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