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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Nassau GOP, Democrats tussle over jail health plan

Nassau County Legislative Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport)

Nassau County Legislative Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) and Majority Leader Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) are seen in this composite photo. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau legislative Democrats and Republicans are blaming each other for scuttling a briefing last week to learn about new requests for proposals to provide medical care at the Nassau County jail.

CSEA president Jerry Laricchiuta had mentioned at the legislative meeting that the county was soliciting proposals from area hospitals to provide medical care at the jail. Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) told the Republican majority that he wanted a briefing on the plan.

Democratic staff said they learned Tuesday morning that the briefing would be held that day in the early afternoon. Three Democratic staff attended. Staff for County Executive Edward Mangano attended. So did Majority Leader Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow).

Abrahams did not, so Gonsalves walked out.

“They were there to meet and address Kevan’s concerns and he didn’t show up,” said Gonsalves aide Frank Moroney. “So there was no one there to discuss it with.”

Democratic aide William Biamonte said Abrahams was working and couldn’t make the last-minute meeting.

“The only reason the meeting didn’t happen is because Gonsalves walked out,” Biamonte said. “The county executive was not there, only county executive staff. Kevan sent staff. It was hastily assembled and we still showed up.”

Moroney said, “We had staff there too. The question was not that staff get together and talk about it. Kevan wanted the report.”

He suggested that Abrahams backed out because he realized it would be a conflict of interest to discuss RFPs issued to area hospitals when he works for Northwell Health.

Biamonte said that wasn’t the case. Abrahams “tries to avoid all conflicts and all appearances of a conflict, but we were not at that stage yet. There wasn’t even an RFP yet,” Biamonte said.

“Unlike Mangano and Gonsalves, who birthed and enabled a disasterous jail contract that has cost both lives and millions of taxpayer dollars, Kevan Abrahams is the only one who has been fighting for reform at the jail,” Biamonte said.

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