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Nassau Legislature debates $86M buyout

The Democratic majority in the Nassau County Legislature approved an $86 million bond issue last year to fund an early retirement program. Minority Republicans expressed skepticism and outrage but voted for it.


This year, the new Republican majority in the County Legislature approved an $86 million bond issue to fund an early retirement program. Democrats, now in the minority, expressed skepticism and outrage but voted for it.


It was hard to grasp the consistency on either side as Democrats insisted their questions had to be legitimate because they were the same questions Republicans asked last year.


And Republicans said that since Democrats had favored a virtually identical bond issue last year, they should vote for this year’s version.


“Don’t criticize this administration for doing precisely what was done by the previous administration, using the same numbers, using the same incentives and the same type of bonding of the termination pay.” the Republican presiding officer, Peter Schmitt of Massapequa, said.


The Democratic minority leader, Diane Yatauro of Glen Cove, insisted there were differences, including the threat of a downgrade in the bond rating and criticism from the Nassau Interim Finance Authority.


“Maybe if we put $90 million in Stack’s bank,” Schmitt said, a reference to NIFA Chairman Ronald Stack. Nassau County transferred $82 million from all its operating accounts to Wells Fargo Bank on May 1, 2009, several months before Stack got a job at the bank after his old firm, Lehman Brothers, collapsed.


“For NIFA to turn around and to criticize the actions of this administration when they turned a blind eye to the phony revenue and the phony initiatives that were included in the Suozzi budget is a disgrace,” Schmitt said.


“Mr. Schmitt. It wasn’t phony,” Legis. Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) replied.
To which Schmitt said: “I understand Mrs. Jacobs that the beancounters — and the board of NIFA is all bankers — would like to join the bandits at Goldman Sachs, and if we would just be happy to inflict more pain upon the taxpayers of this county to ensure their profits, everybody would go home fat and happy. Well, it’s not happening. We’re not going down that road!”


“Nobody here wants to do that,” Jacobs said. “But the bottom line is that when push comes to shove you have to talk real figures, and when you don’t talk real figures, that’s when Wall Street and NIFA gets really damned upset.”
 

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