Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman vowed to act as the county’s “fiscal umpire” and to launch an audit of nepotism in county hiring as he was sworn in Tuesday at a ceremonial inauguration.
Schnirman, a former Long Beach city manager who was sworn in officially Jan. 1 after defeating Republican Steve Labriola in November, said he would act independent of fellow Democrat Laura Curran, the new Nassau County executive.
“I serve as your fiscal umpire — an impartial voice calling balls and strikes and providing facts, transparency and clarity,” Schnirman said in a speech at Nassau Community College. “And the umpire can’t play for the home team. We need to play it straight down the middle.”
Schnirman said his office launched a public tip line for residents to report waste in government and would soon conduct an audit of nepotism in county hiring.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli credited Schnirman’s leadership in Long Beach during superstorm Sandy and his building up the city’s financial reserves.
“He knows how to react in a crisis and to deliver results for the people,” DiNapoli said.
Schnirman also expressed concern about staffing levels and wages in the comptroller’s office.
He said the number of auditors has been halved to 14, while the salary of entry-level auditors has remained flat at $24,000. Suffolk has 35 auditors and the entry-level salary is $39,000, Schnirman said.
Also sworn in Tuesday as deputy county comptrollers were:
- Shari James, a former Long Beach comptroller who will head the office’s financial analysis and reporting bureau
- Kim Brandeau, the former chief budget officer for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, who will lead the audits bureau
- Jeffrey Schoen, a senior official at the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, who will be in charge of investigations