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Maragos, Nassau's new controller, is sworn in

Political newcomer George Maragos, a businessman who edged out two-term incumbent Howard Weitzman by 644 votes, was sworn in as Nassau County comptroller Sunday.

A Republican from Great Neck, Maragos told about 300 supporters that two principles will guide him as he seeks to restrain spending and right county finances.

"I will watch your money as my own," he said at The Inn at New Hyde Park shortly after taking the oath. "And I will always be independent of the executive and the legislature."

Maragos, 60, said before the ceremony that he had approached local GOP leaders about running for office after becoming fed up with a system that favored special interests.

The first job he wants to tackle, he said, is improving how properties in Nassau are assessed. Under the current system, he said, the values are not accurate and don't reflect the market.

He plans a thorough review, he said, aimed at identifying flaws.

Maragos said he then will go "department by department" through county government "with the objective to streamline and identify waste."

The process could result in a 5 to 10 percent reduction in the cost of government operations, he said.

The crowd for the swearing-in included a who's who of the area's GOP activists and office holders. Newly sworn-in County Executive Ed Mangano, who introduced Maragos, praised his knowledge of finance.

"He knows the numbers, and he drills, drills real deep," Mangano said. "And that's what Nassau County needs."

Maragos, who was born in Greece and educated in Canada and the United States, founded SDS Financial Technologies, a financial services firm that has operated in Manhattan for more than 20 years.

He is married and has two adult sons.

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