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Leisure Pass benefit for military veterans pitched

An aerial view of the Nassau County Aquatic

An aerial view of the Nassau County Aquatic Center in Eisenhower Park in East Meadow on May 11, 2011. Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

A Nassau lawmaker is seeking to give military veterans the same discounts as senior citizens for use of the county’s parks and recreation facilities.

Legis. Ellen Birnbaum (D-Great Neck) has proposed an ordinance change that would allow veterans to pay a one-time $25 fee for Nassau’s “Leisure Pass” — as seniors do — rather than pay every three years, as most residents must.

“Veterans deserve acknowledgment for serving their country, and this is a small token of our appreciation,” said Birnbaum, who introduced her bill after a constituent brought the matter to her attention.

Nassau’s Leisure Pass system allows residents discounted access to county parks facilities including pools, skating rinks, golf courses, beaches and museums. Current law specifically notes that seniors only have to pay the one-time fee, and then affirm their residency every three years to renew their passes, but the same distinction is not made for veterans.

The county legislature’s Republican majority will determine if Birnbaum’s amendment request is placed on an upcoming meeting agenda. Majority spokeswoman Cristina Brennan said Republican lawmakers didn’t have any immediate objections to the proposal, which is under review. PAUL LAROCCO



CSEA buyout deadline has passed

The deadline for Glen Cove civil service union members to apply for a voluntary separation program passed on Friday. Mayor Reginald Spinello’s office did not respond to requests for information about how many people accepted the buyouts or what the cost would be. Spinello said last month that 65 Civil Service Employees Association members with at least 10 years service could apply.

The buyout program, which Spinello billed as a cost-saving measure, would give workers 1 percent of their 2014 base salary multiplied by the number of years they’ve served if they resign or retire. The buyouts would be capped at 20 percent of this year’s base salary.

The Spinello administration initially declined to provide its calculations of the potential cost to the city for paying eligible workers. Those calculations were part of an agreement that the City Council — based on verbal descriptions by Spinello and staff — approved on Jan. 28. After being contacted by a Newsday attorney who cited state open meetings law that required the release of the documents, the administration said last week that it had mailed them but declined to fax or email them.

Local CSEA president Martin Cook, whose group represents about 110 workers in Glen Cove, said on Friday that he did not know how many workers had applied.

“The ones that are ready to retire are definitely going to take it,” Cook said. “If you ain’t ready to go why would you?” TED PHILLIPS


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