BY REID J. EPSTEIN
Elected officials on Nassau's North Shore expressed alarm Sunday at County Executive Edward Mangano's proposal to merge two police precincts.
"We had no warning on this and no discussion," Kaiman said. "There was no dialogue with anyone. That really is the biggest concern so far."
Kaiman said he has invited Mangano and municipal and elected officials to a town hall-style meeting at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at North Hempstead Town Hall to discuss the matter.
Mangano and Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey said last week the plan was preliminary and open to change. It proposes saving more than $20 million by eliminating 125 administrative jobs.
Kaiman said many unanswered questions remain.
"How does it work?" he asked. "What's the impact of it? Where is the analysis? What are the numbers? Has there been a study done? Is there a quantitative analysis we can see?"
State Sen. Craig Johnson (D-Port Washington) took a harsher tone.
"Targeting my constituents for a reduction in police presence is just plain wrong, and possibly a threat to public safety," Johnson said. "I also don't think it is appropriate for the county executive to make a change this drastic unilaterally and without public input."
Mangano spokesman Mike Martino said the officials are using scare tactics in an effort to kill the consolidation proposal. "It's a premature move to play on people's fears like the way Senator Johnson did before he knows the facts about this proposal," he said.
Assemb. Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove) said he did not need to wait for a public airing of the details.
"I am vehemently opposed to any plan that will result in less of a law enforcement presence in northern Nassau," he said, "and I am vehemently opposed to any piecemeal experimentation with the safety of our citizens."
Nassau County legislators who represent North Shore districts said they were similarly aggrieved.
Legis. Wayne Wink (D-Roslyn) said Mangano does not have legal authority to consolidate police precincts without legislative approval.
"He's getting very bad legal advice in terms of what he can and can't do unilaterally," Wink said. He called the proposal "dead on arrival."
Legis. Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) said Mangano, a Republican, is scrambling to fill a budget hole created when he rescinded the energy tax lawmakers passed last year. The tax was a centerpiece of Mangano's campaign to defeat Democratic County Executive Thomas Suozzi.