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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Nassau elections board goes over salary budget

People vote on Election Day inside the Wheatley

People vote on Election Day inside the Wheatley School in Old Westbury on Nov. 8, 2016. Credit: Steve Pfost

After hiring several big-name political figures, the Nassau Board of Elections is projected to exceed its salary budget by more than $1 million this year, according to a financial report from County Executive Laura Curran’s administration.

But election officials said they doubted the projected overspending results from the hiring of former Republican Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino at an annual salary of $160,000; GOP Hempstead Town Board member Anthony D’Esposito for $111,111 (although he is gets paid $99,999 annually because he is assigned a 90 percent work schedule); and former Democratic County Legis. Robert Troiano for $140,000 a year.

Curran’s February financial report to the Nassau Interim Finance Authority released last week projects that the elections board’s budget of $17,218,972 will climb to $18,277,494 solely because of an increase in salaries.

Unlike past financial reports required by NIFA, the county’s financial control board, Curran’s report gives no explanation for the increase in salaries.

Republican Elections Commissioner Lou Savinetti said he wasn’t aware of the report but discounted the hirings as a factor. “When we hire someone, it has to pass the budget office,” he said. “If we don’t have the money in the account, then they don’t let us hire that person.”

Democratic Elections Commissioner Dave Gugerty could not be reached for comment. But other Democratic officials suggested the original budget did not account for a possible third primary this year.

Curran has said Nassau is in a fiscal crisis and requested cuts from all departments she oversees, but the elections board is a state agency that is funded by the county. Once the board budget is approved, the Democratic and Republican commissioners have sole authority over hiring and firing.

“The administration doesn’t oversee Board of Election spending.” Curran spokesman Michael Martino said.

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