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Blakeman keeps two-thirds of Curran top staff

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman on Jan. 2.

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman on Jan. 2. Credit: Howard Simmons

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman's administration has retained nearly two-thirds of the political appointees from Democrat Laura Curran's administration, including county lawyers, and assessment and budget officials, county records show.

Blakeman, a Republican, defeated Curran in the November elections.

In November, the Blakeman transition team sought resignations from the county's 308 nonunion employees — standard practice during administration changes.

The transition team said employees who wanted to stay in their jobs could reapply for them.

Blakeman has retained 193 of the nonunion workers, or ordinance employees, who can be hired or fired at the will of county administrations.

That represented more than 62% of Curran's political appointees.

Other employees retired, transferred to other county agencies or were terminated from county employment, the Blakeman administration told Newsday.

Officials are in the process of filling the vacancies, and plan to hire 70 full-time and six part-time ordinance employees.

"Party affiliation is not a prerequisite for employment in my administration. My transition team and I have worked for months to assemble the most qualified and hard working staff to best serve the residents of Nassau County," Blakeman said in a statement.

"These public servants are united in their mission to make Nassau County more affordable and safer while creating new jobs and growing the economy," Blakeman said. "I look forward to working with them to move Nassau forward."

The statement did not address why some employees were kept and why others weren't.

Blakeman also has yet to announce many senior level hires for positions including department commissioners and deputy county executives.

Among those Blakeman has retained are county Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder, whose salary is $270,005, and Sheriff James Dzurenda, whose salary is $190,000.

Blakeman also kept on Chief Medical Examiner Tamara Bloom, who makes $213,599 annually, and Tatum Fox, a deputy county executive for public safety under Curran whose salary is $160,000.

Martha Krisel, executive director of the Civil Service Commission, was retained at her annual salary of $160,000.

Blakeman also is keeping Robin Laveman, the acting county assessor, at a salary of $140,000 and county budget director Andrew Persich, whose salary is $150,000.

Laveman previously had led the county Assessment Review Commission, which decides assessment appeals challenges, under Curran and former Republican County Executive Edward Mangano.

Curran last year attempted to appoint Laveman as county assessor, but majority Republicans in the county legislature refused to allow the appointment to go forward.

Curran then appointed her acting county assessor, a move that did not require legislative approval.

Republicans said Laveman lacked key certifications for the job, but Laveman said she was in the process of completing the relevant coursework.

Blakeman was severely critical during the 2021 campaign of Curran's handling of assessment issues.

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