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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Schmitt pay raise: fallout continues in Nassau

Nassau Democrats launched their bid to retake control of the county legislature on Tuesday.

Republicans, who assumed control barely three weeks ago, had provided the accelerant for the launch on Monday when they approved hefty pay raises for their presiding officer, Legis. Peter Schmitt of Massapequa. (See Newsday's coverage here.)

The legislative minority leader, Diane Yatauro of Glen Cove, gathered her fellow Democrats and some civic leaders at a news conference in Mineola to denounce the raises.

“We’ll put a resolution on the agenda every single meeting to repeal this,” Legis. David Denenberg (D-Merrick) said, ignoring the fact that since Schmitt controls the agenda, such a resolution is unlikely to ever make it onto the agenda.

The Democrats also denounced the “sneaky” tactics, noting that the resolution authorizing the pay raises was clocked in at the clerk’s office at 9:44 a.m. Monday and was voted on about 10:15.

Of course, the Democrats had rammed through about 50 “midnight appointments” made late in December by outgoing Democratic County Executive Thomas Suozzi, just days before Democrats lost control of the legislature.

Facts aside, Schmitt’s move is likely to have a ripple effect that could drag on for months, maybe into the fall election cycle and maybe even into next year, when all 19 legislators have to run again.

Ripples include:

1) Yatauro said she has asked for a meeting with Republican County Executive Edward Mangano, and written a letter to Republican Comptroller George Maragos asking that he not implement her raise. This could pull Mangano and Maragos into the fray.

2) Democrats said they were considering a lawsuit, and since not many lawsuits are resolved quickly, that could pop the issue to the surface anytime there is a development in court.

3) Where do Nassau’s anti-tax, Tea Party activists go now? Schmitt and other Republicans joined those activists at a rally in Massapequa last April. "I'm here because of the taxes, too, but not just the federal taxes, but also the state and county taxes," Schmitt said at the time.

4) How much attention is going to be paid to Suozzi’s “midnight appointments” while this brouhaha lasts?

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