Nassau Republican legislators complain that Democratic County Executive Laura Curran’s parks department has rebuffed their requests since January to set up the equipment needed for their planned news conferences — a routine past practice.
As recently as June 4, Parks Commissioner Eileen Krieb emailed the Republican legislative majority that Deputy County Executive Brian Schneider had already told them “staff is not available” for their events.
But the very next day, five parks employees showed up at the county legislative building to set up the sound system, microphone and lectern for a news conference called by Democratic lawmakers.
“The County Executive’s attempts to silence the majority won’t stop us from bringing issues residents care about to light,” said Legis. John Ferretti (R-Levittown), accusing Curran of playing politics with the parks department.
Curran spokesman Chris Geed responded that the county executive’s office has approved and denied requests from both Democrats and Republicans for the use of the sound, crew and podium depending on staff availability. Curran, she added, even delayed her own event recently and offered the use of her staff and sound system to Republican lawmakers when she and the GOP scheduled simultaneous news conferences.
“The County Executive has accommodated the Republican majority whenever possible, even though they have their own portable sound system, podium, flags and staff to manage their own press events.” Geed said in an email.
Geed added that parks employees have reported “feeling very uncomfortable” when lawmakers use the news conferences to attack the county executive — a not unknown experience for both Krieb and Schneider. Krieb worked for both Democratic County Executive Tom Suozzi and his successor, Republican Ed Mangano, during their often turbulent terms. Schneider has been with the county since 1988 when Republican Tom Gulotta was county executive and was criticized by his own party’s legislators.