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Up on the Board: Nassau sisters, e-hailing taxis and LIPA

A company headed by the sister of Shila

A company headed by the sister of Shila Shah-Gavnoudias, Nassau's public works commissioner, received a $250,000 contract from the county after superstorm Sandy for engineering and inspection services, including oversight of tree debris removal countywide. (Dec. 26, 2009) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Topping the editorial board's agenda for tomorrow: Nassau’s public works commissioner has requested an opinion from the county’s Ethics Board. She gave a $250,000 contract to her sister’s engineering firm and now wants to know whether this was a conflict of interest. We think she should have asked for this opinion before handing out $250,000 in work.

We like the new smartphone app that allows people to hail taxicabs in the city. The appeals court judge should lift his restraining order and let this app get up to speed.

And we're planning finally to get around to the Internet sales tax issue we've talked about at a couple meetings this week. It's up for a U.S. Senate vote on Monday. The board thinks this tax is needed to level the field for bricks-and-mortar stores that are collecting taxes, while online companies are not.

The board will be speaking this afternoon with Richard Kauffman, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s energy czar, about PSEG taking over control of Long Island’s electric grid. The governor’s plan would shrink the Long Island Power Authority’s responsibilities. Our questions for the czar: Can PSEG provide better communication during outages? What’s the long-term outlook within this plan for Long Island property taxes? How can PSEG keep rates stable and also pay for the infrastructure and storm preparedness work that needs doing?

Replacing LIPA is our editorial topic for Sunday, at the moment, and we are planning to include a related Take the Podium question for readers' response on our website.

In the meantime, if you have an opinion on any of the above, simply fill in a comment in the section below, or email


This new Up on the Board feature is the editorial board's blog about what we just discussed at our weekday morning meeting. These meetings are where we talk about the news of the day and hash out our positions for the opinion sections of Newsday, Newsday Westchester and amNew York.