As Nassau County struggles with its budget problems, the leading Democrat on the legislature was noticeably absent at this week’s meeting of the Budget Review Committee.
Legis. Diane Yatauro of Glen Cove, the Democratic minority leader and the ranking Democrat on the five-member committee, was a no-show.
Legis. Wayne Wink of Roslyn was the sole Democrat left to question the witnesses, who included Republican County Comptroller George Maragos and top budget aides to Republican County Executive Edward Mangano.
Yatauro said later that the Republican presiding officer, Legis. Peter Schmitt of Massapequa, had “failed to give my office advance notice of this meeting. Unfortunately I had a prior event scheduled and could not change my plans on short notice.”
“When I was presiding officer, I always tried to give everyone sufficient prior notice of all meetings. To me, that’s what professional courtesy means,” Yatauro said.
Schmitt noted that the date of March 16th committee meeting was discussed publicly at the March 8th meeting of the full legislature, which Yatauro attended, and that formal notice was sent out by the clerk’s office on March 9th, meeting the seven-day notice requirement.
After that explanation, Schmitt took a dig at both Yatauro and Michael Florio, once an aide to former County Executive Thomas Suozzi who has just been hired by Yatauro as a $75,000-a-year budget analyst.
“No one else had a problem attending the hearing, but from now on we will be sure to give Ms. Yatauro plenty of notice, and we will cc: Mike Florio,” Schmitt said.