There was a surreal air Friday afternoon in the Ceremonial Chambers of the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola.
What was clear was that the remaining seven members of the Assessment Review Commission were going to be fired after the conclusion of the disciplinary hearing they were entitled to before they could be ousted.
The room was almost empty except for one of the commissioners, John Lewis, a handful of attorneys, some aides to County Executive Edward Mangano, and the tribunal — Joseph Nocello, counsel to Mangano, and Chief Deputy County Executive Rob Walker.
The hearing started at 2 p.m., adjourned for time to allow a second set of attorneys to arrive, and finally concluded shortly before 4 p.m.
Nocello, a quiet soft-spoken man, rose from the table whenever he addressed the audience, and Lewis mumbled in his seat about what he considered the sloppily handled proceedings.
Walker did the actual firing, after consulting briefly in the back room with Nocello. Walker addressed Nocello as, “Mister Presiding Officer,” said he had consulted with Mangano during the five-minute break, and then announced the seven were terminated, “effective immediately.”