Newly elected Nassau Legis. Debra Mulé has changed her mind about wearing two public hats come January.
Mulé, a Freeport Democrat who serves as a $19,500-a-year trustee on the Freeport Village board, recently told the Freeport edition of the Long Island Herald she would stay on the village board after she is sworn in as a $75,000-a-year part-time county legislator. Mulé will replace Democrat Laura Curran, who was elected Nassau County executive.
“I can do both,” Mulé was quoted as saying. “I’m not going to do both for a long time, and I’m considering and weighing my options. I’m not sure when I’m going to leave the village board.”
But the Nassau County charter is clear, stating that, “no county legislator shall hold any other public office or be an employee of the county.”
New York State General Municipal Law says villages are municipalities and defines any member of a municipal board as a public officer.
Mulé on Friday acknowledged that her published comments were “incorrect.” She said she subsequently received a call from an attorney who read her the county charter.
“As I understand it, Jan. 8 is the swearing-in. At that point I will be resigning from the village,” Mulé said. “I never wanted to do both in the first place.”
Former Suffolk Chief Deputy County Executive Paul Sabatino, who served for many years as Suffolk’s legislative counsel, said “the two-hat doctrine” that bans serving in two public jobs simultaneously goes back at least 100 years in New York.
“You can’t wear two hats that cause or create an inherent conflict in public office,” he said.