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Daily Point

Another new face at the Nassau comptroller’s office

Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos has his fourth spokesperson in about a year, now that Karen Green has come aboard as director of communications, effective Wednesday. She replaces Carla Hall D’Ambra, hired in May 2016, who replaced Eleni Manis, who took over for Jostyn Hernandez in March 2016. Hernandez is now assistant communications director with the Town of Hempstead, still safely in the Republican fold, even as Maragos has decamped for the Democratic Party.

Green seems to have feet in both camps. She previously served as director of marketing and communications for the law firm Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, generally considered to be a Republican firm, but she also worked in the administration of Democrat Thomas Suozzi when he was Nassau County executive.

Maragos, who was twice elected to the comptroller job as a Republican but not all that tight with others in the GOP, has quickly turned the outsider role into a habit. He is running a long-shot campaign for the Democratic nomination for county executive.

It’s unclear why there is such a revolving door in the PR operation. Is it caused more by the hullabaloo of Maragos’ political life or the hullabaloo of a comptroller’s office in a county where the coffers are empty and the financial practices are iffy?

Lane Filler

Talking Point

Why are nursing homes sending mailers to LIers?

New York’s nursing homes sector, always a strong lobby in the state, is dropping mailers and buying TV and radio time to push back on cuts that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has proposed in the state budget.

The mailers tug at heartstrings by including photos of middle-aged people and their parents. “When nursing home funding is threatened, it’s my dad who suffers,” reads the headline over one photo.

The campaign is the work of former State Sen. Michael Balboni, one of whose roles is as executive director of the Greater New York Health Care Facilities Association, which represents more than 80 nursing homes.

Balboni told The Point that his campaign is “a pretty significant buy for Long Island,” but he wouldn’t say how much the nursing home group is spending. Mailers are being sent in the districts of State Sens. John Flanagan, Carl Marcellino and Elaine Phillips (who now represents much of Balboni’s old district).

Balboni wants increased state funding to ease financial pressure on nursing homes. Uncertainty about the federal programs Medicare and Medicaid is fueling concern.

Sen. Kemp Hannon, chairman of the Senate Health Committee, told The Point that the governor’s budget cuts to long-term care are not major. However, he added that the system needs investment, not reduction, and he will recommend to the Senate Republican conference on Monday that it reject the governor’s cuts.

“Nursing homes are still the bulwark of our care for seriously ill and older people, and they’re moving to protect that,” Hannon said of the group headed by his former GOP colleague.

Anne Michaud

Bonus Point

Doughnuts with Vlad

Why is President Donald Trump tweeting about “an immediate investigation” into Sen. Chuck Schumer and ties to Russia?

Earlier Friday, Drudge Report shifted the focus from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaking with the Russian ambassador during the heat of the 2016 campaign by linking to news accounts of Schumer appearing with Vladimir Putin more than a decade ago.

The occasion? The “grand opening” of a Russian-owned Lukoil gas station on Manhattan’s 24th Street and 10th Avenue. Schumer said more competition was good for the American wallet. Putin sampled coffee and a Krispy Kreme.

More than 13 years later, Schumer is still a senator and Putin is (once again) Russian president. But that gas station, now adjacent to the High Line, is closed.

Was the station’s fate a harbinger of tensions between Russia and the Democratic Party? Was its closing such a personal insult to Putin that he vowed to disrupt an American election? The NYC market strikes again, not just driving real estate costs higher, but acting as a powerful force on international alliances.

Mark Chiusano

Pencil Point

Under oath and above the law

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