Nassau's top legislative staffer has been appointed a deputy county executive charged with seeking aid for communities affected by superstorm Sandy, County Executive Edward Mangano announced Thursday.

Edward Ward, who has served as director of policy and communications for the GOP-controlled county legislature, will be the liaison between the administration and county, state and federal lawmakers.

"Ed's vast experience will surely benefit the people of Nassau County as we put programs and services to work for the residents impacted by Hurricane Sandy," Mangano said Thursday in a statement. "Ward's experience with federal and state aid programs is essential to our recovery efforts."

Ward, who previously served as federal and state aid coordinator for the Town of Hempstead, will be a member of the administration's communications staff. He will earn a salary of $166,000 in his new position -- $10,000 less than he made in the legislature.

He knows the destruction of Sandy firsthand. His vehicle and Seaford home were destroyed in the storm, and for more than two weeks he has been living in a motel in Hicksville.

Ward was elected to the Nassau Legislature in 1996 in Merrick's 19th District. He served two terms until he was defeated in 2000 by Legis. Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick). Most recently, he served as the top aide to Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa), who had a fatal heart attack last month.

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"I hope to utilize my experience in obtaining federal and state aid for local governments in assisting Nassau during the post-Sandy era," Ward said Thursday.

Legis. Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) said Ward brings "invaluable experience to the position."

Gonsalves, who is expected to be elected as the legislative presiding officer on Monday, said she plans to find a replacement for Ward in the coming weeks.