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Long IslandPolitics

Nassau lawmakers pass new sexual harassment policies

Lawmakers on Monday voted to require disclosure of sexual harassment settlements involving county workers.

Nassau Legis. Arnold Drucker, seen in Mineola on

Nassau Legis. Arnold Drucker, seen in Mineola on Aug. 16, 2017, proposed in February a version of the sexual harassment bill that the county legislature passed on Monday. Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

The Nassau County Legislature voted overwhelmingly Monday for legislation to strengthen sexual harassment policies by requiring disclosure to legislative leaders of all settlements and violations involving county employees.

“It recognizes the need to be proactive in preventing this reprehensible human behavior from taking root in this county,” said Legis. Arnold Drucker (D-Plainview), who proposed a version of the bill in February.

The measure directs Nassau’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity to disclose findings of violations of the county’s sexual harassment policy that lead to discipline within 30 days to the county attorney, the legislative presiding officer and the minority leader.

The county attorney also must disclose settlements to the legislative leaders.

Nassau officials also would have to distribute the county sexual harassment policyto all county employees within 30 days of the bill’s passage, and employees would have to complete an online tutorial. The county would have to hire a consultant to provide the training by the end of next March.

The measure passed by a vote of 18-0, with Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) absent.

Legislation signed by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone in February requires tracking of past and future sexual harassment complaints involving county employees, and mandates training for workers.

Also Monday, the Nassau Legislature:

  • Passed a bill to create a rewards program for tips leading to arrests and convictions for illegal drug activity. The bill creates a call-in hotline, with up to $5,000 in federal asset forfeiture funds available for individual tipsters, who can call in anonymously. Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) described the tip line as “another weapon in our arsenal.”
  • Formed a bipartisan committee to review the county’s response to superstorm Sandy in 2012.

Legis. Denise Ford, a Long Beach Democrat who caucuses with Republicans, will chair the committee. Ford said the panel will “evaluate the preparation and the response for the storm by government agencies, first responders, not-for-profit organizations, and private sector entities to identify what worked well, and what improvements can be made.”

  • Approved three new members of the county’s Assessment Review Commission.

Jeremy May was hired at a salary of $93,000. He had been working as a $57,000-a-year deputy county attorney and is the brother of Gregory May, Curran’s consumer affairs commissioner.

Scott Davis and Richard Gutierrez will receive $15,000 stipends as part-time commission members. Chairwoman Robin Laveman’s salary will rise to $140,000 from $110,000.

  • Approved a bill to require the presence of American Sign Language interpreters at emergency news conferences organized by the county.

The bill’s sponsor, Legis. Joshua Lafazan of Woodbury, who caucuses with the Democrats but is unaffiliated with a political party, said the measure “is about telling our residents that regardless of physical ability . . . that you do belong here, and we’re proud that you call Nassau County home.”

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