Good afternoon. Today’s points:
- Nassau pays its bill
- Ryan's $$$ express
- Riverhead is listening
Calling Dr. Maragos
It looks like the medical provider at the Nassau County jail is going to get paid for its July invoice, but only after threatening to leave in 30 days if the company didn’t get its money by Friday.
County Comptroller George Maragos told The Point Friday that the company had submitted a new invoice for its monthly charge of $968,000, minus $165,000 in payments that his office is challenging.
Armor Correctional Health Services, which has an $11 million-a-year contract with the county, is under fire after the state Commission of Correction found that at least five deaths since 2011 might have been related to deficient care at the facility.
New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman also sued the company, claiming it has provided “dangerously inadequate” care to inmates and failed to meet contract benchmarks.
As a result, Maragos refused to pay Armor’s bills starting in July. But then Armor called his bluff.
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said there is no way a new medical care provider can be found in 30 days, and the Nassau University Medical Center said it’s not up to the task.
Maragos bristled when asked whether his refusal to pay Armor and the publicity he generated were related to his well-known ambition for higher office, possibly the county executive spot. He said he had an absolute responsibility to safeguard taxpayers’ money and make sure Armor is living up its contract.
But he had that responsibility for the past 33 months, too, before health care problems at the jail started to generate more intense scrutiny.
Case in Point
Twin forks show up Gold Coast
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s fundraising swing for eight House GOP candidates in the Northeast, including stops in two battleground districts on Long Island, raised $730,000.
Incumbent Lee Zeldin in the 1st CD in Eastern Suffolk raked in more than $160,000 of that total at an Aug. 30 fundraiser in Nissequogue. Ryan’s other stop that day was for Jack Martins, who is seeking the open seat in the 3rd CD. His campaign spokesman says the event raised $100,000.
The Gold Coast district gets the silver this time.
Rita Ciolli, Sam Guzik
Point of Order
How quickly things change
On Wednesday, The Point wrote about an environmental referendum on the November ballot to extend for another 20 years the Community Preservation Fund’s 2 percent real estate tax on the East End. We noted it would appear as Proposition No. 1 in four towns, but in Riverhead Town it would be Proposition No. 2, making the measure harder to promote throughout the region with a single message.
Riverhead’s Proposition No. 1 was a measure to establish term limits for board members and increase the supervisor’s term from two years to four years. Supervisor Sean Walter defended the town’s ordering as a matter of when each referendum was approved by the town board.
Now that’s changed.
The Point explained that the town clerk can determine the order in which propositions appear. So some members of Riverhead’s famously fractious town board asked Riverhead Clerk Diane Wilhelm to reverse the order of the two propositions.
On Friday, Wilhelm’s request to do just that arrived at the Board of Elections. And No. 2 is now No. 1.