Nassau’s fiscal monitoring board Wednesday had its first official meeting with county leaders since County Executive Edward Mangano and Comptroller George Maragos took office in January.
The state appointed board, the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, has been monitoring Nassau’s finances and reviewing its budget, since 2000.
The group, which included Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa) and Minority Leader Diane Yatauro (D-Glen Cove), talked about Mangano’s plan for solving the county’s fiscal woes, including a projected $286 million budget deficit for next year.
But don’t expect any official briefing about what was said at the meeting, which was not open to the public.
“We were sworn to secrecy,” Yatauro said after the session, explaining that NIFA chairman Ronald Stack asked all of them to not disclose what was said in order to promote a frank discussion. “I can say the tone and the feel of the meeting was very strict.” .
In fact, several people report privately that Stack, who was the head of public finance at Lehman Brothers when the investment firm collapsed in 2008, sternly reminded Mangano that NIFA has the power to take control of the county’s finances if Nassau runs a deficit of more than one percent.
However, it seems that nobody asked Stack how the county wound up in such bad fiscal shape if NIFA has been monitoring Nassau’s books for a decade.