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Suffolk police official had $16,000 contract in Nassau

Risco Mention-Lewis, Suffolk's deputy police commissioner, will be

Risco Mention-Lewis, Suffolk's deputy police commissioner, will be paid by the Nassau District Attorney's office for work done between Sept. 1, 2012, and Aug. 31, according to a contract approved Monday by a Nassau legislative committee. Photo Credit: James Carbone

A top-ranking official in the Suffolk Police Department earned $16,000 as a consultant to Nassau County over a two-year period after taking her current $131,000-a-year post.

Risco Mention-Lewis, Suffolk's deputy police commissioner, will be paid by the Nassau district attorney's office for work done between Sept. 1, 2012, and Aug. 31, according to a contract approved Monday by Nassau County legislators.

Mention-Lewis had been the Nassau district attorney's chief of youth development and redirection before her hiring by Suffolk in the summer of 2012. After taking the job, she continued as a district attorney's consultant for 320 hours at $50 per hour.

Nassau officials said her work was necessary to help establish new leadership of a community program she founded.

The district attorney's Council of Thought and Action, launched in Hempstead in 2008 under Mention-Lewis, mentors ex-convicts to find jobs and avoid reoffending.

Shams Tarek, a spokesman for District Attorney Kathleen Rice, said Mention-Lewis' work helped the program to continue to run smoothly.

"When she suddenly left, we didn't want there to be any interruptions in the program," Tarek said. "There were a lot of people who depended on it."

Mention-Lewis did not return a call for comment Tuesday. Rice's office, in a contract summary, noted that the work was not competitively bid because the former Nassau prosecutor "possesses a familiarity with the program that cannot be duplicated by any other individual or organization."

Suffolk County leaders said Tuesday they were aware of Mention-Lewis' paid consulting work for Nassau County.

"One of the reasons we brought her over was to take the model she started in Nassau County to Suffolk County," said Jon Schneider, a Suffolk deputy county executive.

Schneider said Mention-Lewis told county officials her work in Nassau, on nights and weekends, ended in May 2013. Schneider said he did not know why the Nassau contract was listed as continuing through the end of August of this year.

Since coming to Suffolk, Mention-Lewis has launched the Council of Thought and Action program in Wyandanch and North Bellport. Last month, she described her philosophy while promoting the program at a local fall festival.

"If you've had a record, if you've never had a record, it makes no difference -- you can make great change in your community," Mention-Lewis said.

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