Nassau County Executive-elect Laura Curran rolled out her transition team on Monday, naming a prominent Democratic Party official as chairman even as she said her administration will keep its promise to prioritize qualifications over political affiliations.
Curran’s team to recommend candidates for top county posts consists of 35 people, including Republican and Democratic elected officials, developers, philanthropists, union presidents, and leaders of local universities, hospitals, religious institutions and nonprofits.
Thomas Garry, a managing partner at the Uniondale law firm of Harris Beach and vice chairman of the Nassau County Democratic Committee, will lead the group — which launched a website, www.nassautransition2017.com, to accept applications for appointed jobs in the Curran administration.
Curran, a Democratic county legislator who often railed against patronage during her campaign, has pledged to base hiring on “what you know, not who you know.”
Her campaign declined to make her available for an interview on Monday, but released a statement in which Curran said the team would help “rebuild our government with qualified and talented individuals who are going to help end the culture of corruption and bring a fresh start to Nassau County.”
Garry said he understood why some might question if his role in the transition suggests the party will have outsize influence over Curran. But he added: “I disagree with the premise” and said he will not be taking a government job.
“I know what it means to run a large organization and to try to get various people with various opinions to work together,” said Garry, whose law firm has more than 225 attorneys in 12 offices.
The transition team also includes some Curran campaign contributors as well as several former aides to Thomas Suozzi, the last Democratic county executive.
Curran has pledged to ban her government appointees from holding active leadership positions in a political party committee or club, and from contributing to her campaign.
In acknowledging those promises, Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs said Curran should ultimately be judged upon who she actually hires, not who advises her transition.
“Tom is not taking a role in the government, so I think that’s the critical piece,” Jacobs said of Garry.
Republicans on Curran’s transition team include Westbury Village Mayor Peter Cavallaro and Hempstead Town Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, who has worked with Curran on Baldwin redevelopment efforts.
“She doesn’t come to the table with any biases — it’s just ‘what are we going to do,’” King Sweeney said of Curran.
Members of Nassau County Executive-elect Laura Curran’s transition team:
•Thomas J. Garry - Chair, managing partner of Harris Beach PLLC Long Island Office
•Siela A. Bynoe - Nassau County Legislator, 2nd Legislative District
•Anthony Cancellieri - vice chairman, South Nassau Communities Hospital
• Peter I. Cavallaro - mayor, Village of Westbury
•Milton Cooper - executive chairman, Kimco Realty
•David DeCerbo - general counsel, Catholic Health Services of Long Island
•Robert E. Detor Jr. - health care consultant/trainer and former president and CEO of the Long Island Home/Northwell Health System
•Kimberly Dey - president, Renaissance Property Associates
•Patrick Dolan - president, Steamfitters Local 638
•John Donnelly - former chief operating officer and current chief talent officer for Jackson Lewis P.C.
•Randi Shubin Dresner - president and CEO of Island Harvest Food Bank
•The Rev. Sedgwick Easley - pastor, Union Baptist Church of Hempstead
•Karli Hagedorn - board chair of Friends of the Sands Point Preserve
•Dr. Tochi Iroku-Malize - chair of the Family Medicine Department at the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and Northwell Health
•Jorge A. Martinez - deputy mayor, Village of Freeport
•Andrew Lauer - vice president and general counsel of Yeshiva University
•Kevin Law - president and CEO, Long Island Association
•Todd Kaminsky - New York State senator
•David Mack - first assistant commissioner of the Nassau County Police Department
•Victoria Manes - president, Triad Group LLC
•Mike Matauro - president of RXR Realty
•Patricia McDonald - mayor, Village of Malverne
•Stuart Rabinowitz - president of Hofstra University
•Scott Rechler - chairman and CEO, RXR Realty
•Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds - president and CEO, Family and Children’s Association
•Thomas Stokes - chief operating officer and chief financial officer, Weill Cornell Imaging at New York-Presbyterian
•Kyle Strober - executive director, Association for a Better Long Island
•Erin King Sweeney - Town of Hempstead Council Member, Fifth Councilmanic District
•George Tsunis - chairman and CEO, Chartwell Hotels
•Paul Vista - deputy director of the Nassau County Veterans Service Agency
•Helena Williams - chief development officer for RATP Dev America and former president of the Long Island Rail Road
•Peter Florey - principal, D&F Development Group
•Kathleen Deegan-Dickson - Forchelli Curto Deegan Schwartz Mineo Cohen & Terrana
•Patricia Reilly - former director of TPVA
•Dr. Isma Chaudhry - president, Islamic Center of Long Island
Source: Curran campaign