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Mixing politics and Long Beach
Professional, appointed city managers are not supposed to be political players. That’s a bedrock tenet of the International City/County Management Association, and it’s one that Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman apparently violated by running for Nassau County comptroller while holding his current position.
According to a June 15 news release, that conflict got him publicly censured by ICMA, and barred from membership in that organization for life. The association decided Schnirman has broken Tenet 7 of the ICMA code of ethics, which states that members working for local governments cannot be involved in political activities, run for elected office, seek endorsements or financial contributions or engage in any campaign activities.
Schnirman established a committee, Nassau Forward, in January to explore a run for Nassau County executive before deciding to run instead for Nassau comptroller.
ICMA director of ethics Martha Perego told The Point that the association’s 11,000-person membership might generate 30 to 40 complaints a year that result in as few as four or five censures and bans. “We have a code of ethics, like any other profession,” Perego said. “This is pretty much the basic standard because managers are nonpolitical. They can’t support candidates, or go to campaign parties, or run for office.”
Schnirman was specifically punished, according to the ICMA, because he raised funds, created a visible online political presence, and “leveraged his position and office with the city for the benefit of his political aspirations.”
“Oh no, you can’t do that,” said one 40-year veteran of city management who has run several medium- and large-sized cities in California and on the East Coast. “It’s a very rigid rule, nothing political at all. I’m not even allowed to put a bumper sticker on my car saying I’m for Obama, much less campaign and run for office.”
Schnirman adviser Kim Devlin responded with this email statement: “This news release is ridiculous. Jack Schnirman is a consummate government official who has run Long Beach with the highest ethics and professionalism, and who has a long and successful record of saving taxpayers money. Looking at the progress Long Beach has made in the last five years makes it easy to see how we need that kind of professional approach to cleaning up the mess in Mineola; to attack him for any of that shows the desperation of [County Executive Edward] Mangano’s Republican buddies.”
Clare Rose and the family business
Now in its 10th week, the Clare Rose strike is heading to a mediator, in an attempt to work out the differences between the beer distributor’s management and the more than 100 drivers and warehouse workers who headed to the picket lines on April 23.
It’s rare for a Long Island company strike to go on this long. But behind this one is a clear shift in how Clare Rose does business — an attempt by chief executive Sean Rose, the third generation of his family to manage the East Yaphank-based company, to do things differently in terms of technology, job descriptions and the overall business model. But even as Rose makes those changes, he has found that he still has to answer to his father, Mark, and uncle, Fredrick, who ran the company previously and now still sit on Clare Rose’s independent board of directors.
“It took me a long time to explain to my dad and my uncle why we’re doing things differently,” Rose told The Point. The company, he said, is more “businesslike” than it was in generations past. For the workers, that represents a significant departure from an atmosphere they say was more familial in years past.
Rose said he hopes to maintain that familial setting — while still putting the company in a position to grow.
“If my company doesn’t change, or any company doesn’t change with the marketplace, you’re not going to be around,” Rose said.
Randi F. Marshall
The Grinch who stole healthcare
Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?
We know he has stories to tell, but how will he tell them?
Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s toe has been firmly dipped into the content-creation business since he was fired by President Donald Trump in March. It started with his newly active Twitter account. Now add a position at his brother’s media firm and a book deal with publisher Alfred A. Knopf, announced last week.
Bharara’s editor there is Peter Gethers, a polymath who is also the executive vice president of Random House Studio, an endeavor to tie book and film projects together.
Maybe the circumstances of Bharara’s firing, investigations he was overseeing at the time and the strange conversations the prosecutor had with Trump could someday make it to the silver screen.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Bharara’s first taste of the industry, given the Showtime series “Billions,” partially based on some of his financial cases. Who knew that things could get more colorful than that show’s depiction of a BDSM prosecutor hunting a tortured and fabulously wealthy New Yorker?