Nassau County’s new administration has named a female correction captain with more than three decades of law enforcement experience as the jail’s new undersheriff, and will count on her to lead the facility during the search for a new sheriff.
Vera Fludd, 56, of Freeport, became a correction officer in 1984 and is the first woman to attain the rank of undersheriff at Nassau’s jail, according to county officials.
Michael Martino, a spokesman for Nassau County Executive-elect Laura Curran, said Curran made Fludd’s appointment Thursday “to ensure continuity in jail operations.”
Fludd, who in October earned a previous promotion to the level of captain, has an associate degree from Nassau Community College and is married with eight children and six grandchildren, officials said.
Correction union leader Brian Sullivan applauded Fludd’s appointment, saying the Sheriff’s Department veteran rose through the ranks and knows the jail “inside and out.”
Fludd also will become acting sheriff when current Sheriff Michael Sposato, an appointee of Republican County Executive Edward Mangano, leaves his position at year’s end.
From 2000 to 2009, Fludd’s assignment was to work directly in the office of the jail’s top official — first former Sheriff Edward Reilly and then Sposato, Martino said.
Curran said shortly after her November election that she would replace Sposato with a new sheriff.
While a county legislator, Curran and her fellow Democrats in February demanded Sposato’s resignation, accusing him of “gross mismanagement” of the East Meadow correctional facility.
They cited what they dubbed his lack of accountability and transparency on issues including security and infrastructure. They also criticized Sposato’s defense of Armor Correctional Health Services, the jail’s former medical vendor whose tenure was marked by a series of inmate deaths that spurred multiple lawsuits.
Sposato, a former jail cook who rose to interim sheriff in 2008 and sheriff in 2011, had called the criticism “a cheap political stunt” to try to intimidate the Sheriff’s Department into doling out overtime for correction officers he said he “cut by tens of millions of dollars.”
Earlier this month, Sposato told Newsday he was disappointed about losing his position, but thought he’d done “a good job” at the jail — “especially managing the budget.”
The appointment of Fludd, who Martino said wasn’t available for comment Friday, comes as a group of local inmate advocates launched a petition directed at Curran that lists the top qualities she should seek in a new sheriff.
The Change.org petition from Nassau County Jail Advocates says the new sheriff should be someone who puts the lives and safety of inmates and correction employees “above budget concerns or county politics.”
The group’s petition also says the new sheriff should be committed to best standards in inmate medical care, have zero tolerance for sexual harassment or racial discrimination, increase training for correction officers and value the rehabilitative benefits of family contact for inmates.