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Why does top Nassau legislator ignore contract hijinks?

Nassau County Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow)

Nassau County Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) attends a hearing in Mineola on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The administration of Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano gave out hundreds of no-bid contracts for just under $25,000, purposely evading the need for legislative approval. Many of the contracts went to the politically connected, some for work that may never have been needed or completed. Yet, Norma Gonsalves, the presiding officer of the county legislature and a Republican like Mangano, has never held a hearing on these shenanigans and continues to oppose most meaningful reforms. Worse, when the Democratic minority held a hearing on its own, Gonsalves denied those lawmakers the legislative chamber.

Now, the stench has gotten worse.

Newsday recently reviewed more than 100 county emails obtained through a freedom of information request about BluChip Marketing, which got two no-bid contracts for just under $25,000 in 2013 and 2014 to promote the county’s film industry. They show county employees did not think company head Karin Caro had unique skills, the requirement for avoiding the bid process, or did quality work. They said a county employee was on staff to do this kind of work, and that Caro either failed to complete her work or did it poorly.

But county attorney Carnell Foskey, the head of the parks department, and chief Deputy County Executive Rob Walker repeatedly pushed for Caro to get the work, even admonishing county employees to be more welcoming of her. By the time Caro got her second contract, employees had complained to no avail about her shoddy work, and BluChip was ineligible to receive government contracts because New York State found it failed to provide disability insurance.

Why is Gonsalves so incurious about how the taxpayers she represents were taken advantage of and who is to blame? — The editorial board