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Political-candidate members not unusual for NIFA board

Although Edward Mangano complained about the appointment of

Although Edward Mangano complained about the appointment of Howard Weitzman, former Nassau comptroller, to the NIFA board, such appointments aren't unusual. Photo Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

The appointment last week of former Nassau Comptroller Howard Weitzman, a Democrat, to the financial board in control of Nassau’s finances was not unusual nor uniquely partisan, despite complaints from County Executive Edward Mangano, a Republican.

After Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat, recommended in May that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo appoint Weitzman to the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, Mangano wrote to Cuomo, saying that former political candidates do not belong on the NIFA board. The financial control board, Mangano said, should be nonpartisan.

But former political candidates have often been members of the NIFA board.

Current NIFA board member Paul Annunziato, a Republican, is a former candidate for the county legislature. Democrat Dermond Thomas was an elected trustee in the Village of Valley Stream before and after his appointment to the NIFA control board in August 2011.

Democrat Leonard Steinman ran and was elected to the Supreme Court bench while he was a NIFA member in 2012. Former Chairman Jon Kaiman, a Democrat, was still North Hempstead Town supervisor when he was appointed to head the NIFA board in September 2013, though Kaiman had already announced plans to leave his elected post. Former NIFA member Adam Haber had run in a Democratic primary for county executive and also had run for a State Senate seat before he was named to the board last year.

And that’s only recent history of the NIFA board.

For now, the NIFA board is balanced politically. Chairman Adam Barsky and NIFA member John Buran are Independence Party members; Annunziato and Paul Leventhal are Republicans; Chris Wright and Howard Weitzman are Democrats; and Lester Petracca is not affiliated with a political party.

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