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Nassau Dems to railroad through last-minute promotion

The lame-duck Democratic majority on the Nassau Legislature is expected Monday to promote acting budget review director Steven Antonio to the full-time director's job without GOP approval - even though Republican leader Peter Schmitt also favors Antonio.

Despite a GOP boycott of the selection process, Democrats on the legislature's Budget Review Committee on Friday recommended Antonio be named the legislature's fiscal watchdog.

With Democrats still holding a 10-9 majority until Jan. 1, Antonio's appointment seems assured even if GOP lawmakers abstain, as expected.

Ironically, Schmitt (R-Massapequa), the presumptive new presiding officer, has said since former director Eric Naughton resigned in October that he would like Antonio to continue in the job. Antonio has worked in the budget review office since it was created in 1996. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

But Schmitt complained that outgoing Presiding Officer Diane Yatauro (D-Glen Cove) "tainted" the process when she bypassed the bipartisan selection procedure called for in the county charter.

"This was all unnecessary," Schmitt said in a statement. "I said it from the beginning. They are nowhere that we wouldn't have been in January anyway."

Legis. Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury), budget review committee chairwoman, said Antonio, who will fill the remaining two years of Naughton's term, "has a wealth of experience and a wealth of knowledge"

Although Antonio lives in Astoria, Queens, Jacobs said, "Residency is important, but excellence and experience overtake it."

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