Nassau’s new investigations commissioner managed to anger both Democratic and Republican lawmakers at Monday’s legislative meeting without even entering the room.
For background: The job of investigations commissioner has been a key element in a fight between Democrats and Republicans over reforming the county’s contracting system. Democrats say Nassau needs an independent inspector general to review county contracts. The inspector general should be hired by contract and not work at the pleasure of County Executive Edward Mangano.
Republicans say the job already exists after Mangano separated the position of investigations commissioner from the county attorney’s office and hired Donna Myrill, a former Queens prosecutor.
Newsday columnist Joye Brown reported last week that when she placed a call to Myrill, Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin called her back.
So on Monday:
Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) complained at the legislative meeting that Myrill had canceled a meeting with him that had been scheduled for Tuesday. “I’m guessing in light of the story that hit the paper a couple of days ago, she suddenly canceled on me, a meeting that had been scheduled for weeks.”
He noted that Nevin had called Brown back rather than Myrill.
“To me, it’s mind-boggling that you guys claim she’s independent and she has a call from the administration on her behalf. That is unconscionable in this day and age,” Abrahams said, adding that Myrill had not rescheduled his meeting.
Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow), who has been the staunchest defender of the investigations commissioner’s independence, saw red.
She told Samantha Goetz, Mangano’s liaison to the legislature, to relay her disappointment “to you know who. I’m not talking about to the county executive or Mr. Brian Nevin. I am talking right to the commissioner of investigations.”
Gonsalves continued, “She had a meeting scheduled with [Abrahams]. She should have kept that meeting. There could not have been anything so imperative that she could not keep that meeting. She could have scheduled something else ... I would think he takes priority. That’s my opinion.”
Gonsalves added, “Its not only a disappointment to him but a disappointment to us. She is not to do that again. She is to get back to him as soon as possible to have the meeting with him. Is that clear?”
“If not, I am going to have a meeting with her. And then she is going to be in trouble.”
Democratic spokeswoman Lauren Corcoran-Doolin said Wednesday that Myrill had yet to reschedule or reach out.
Myrill declined to comment.