Friday, 10 January 2014 00:00
County Executive thanks ‘Team Nassau’ and pledges more
Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano was sworn in to a second term on Jan. 2 at Bethpage High School. When a paper Bible couldn’t be located, he took the oath of office with his hand on an iPad that had the Bible on-screen. Here is his speech, abridged due to space limitations.
Allow me to start off by saying thank you, Gov. Cuomo, for taking time to join me on this special day. I am deeply honored by your presence. Colleagues in government, reverend clergy, distinguished guests, family and friends: Thank you for celebrating with me today.
Wow, what an amazing feeling to be joining with all of you here. Back at my alma mater—in fact my entire family’s alma mater, Bethpage High School. I am humbled and honored to be sworn in as your County Executive for the second time. Four years ago, we gathered in this very room and set forth a plan to address the many challenges we as a county faced and I am happy with the progress my team has made in creating jobs and making Nassau County more affordable. For the first time in a long time, we, in Nassau
County, can be proud of the fact that we are no longer the highest property taxed county in the nation. In fact, local governments around the state contact us to better understand how we cut taxes while closing a $400 million deficit.
We basically put Nassau County on a diet. We have slashed the payroll, cut our energy costs with cooperative purchasing and green energy initiatives, reduced the vehicle fleet, eliminated 2,500 copy machines and 1,700 phone lines. We have become more efficient, which is why I would like to take a moment to thank my team for their hard work and success:
First, my Commissioner of Public Works, Shila Shah-Gavnoudias. She successfully converted all traffic lights to LED and instituted a state-of-the-art snow plow monitoring system. We have met every snow storm with the best possible service.
I thank Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Craft for his superior emergency management—best demonstrated by Nassau County’s response to Hurricane Sandy. I am proud Nassau County received the prestigious National Weather Service Award for being storm ready.
I also thank Social Services Commissioner John Imhoff for his outstanding delivery of social services while establishing our team of fraud investigators who recovered and prevented $15.3 million in Medicaid fraud.
Thank you to Sheriff Michael Sposato for leading the County in efficiencies and cost-cutting initiatives. From a public-private partnership that created inmate health care in the jail to a comprehensive energy-savings initiative, Sheriff Sposato has a proven record. I
also commend Fire Marshall Scott Tusa for his work in establishing a state-of-the-art training and education center at Nassau County’s firefighter training facilities.
Thank you, Health Commissioner Dr. Larry Eisenstein for bringing national acclaim to our County by winning three National Model Practice Awards, the highest number won by a local health department in the United States in 2013. His team of nurses and health care professionals are second to none.
I also commend [technology] Commissioner Ed Eisenstein for his successful launch of efficient technology, including our smart application, Nassau Now.
Thank you, Executive Directors Eldia Gonzalez and Herb Flores for your exemplary work leading the Coordinating Agency for Spanish Americans.
Retired Police Commissioner Thomas Dale, First Deputy Commissioner Thomas Krumpter and Acting Commissioner Vic Politi, thank you for overseeing landmark efficiencies and consolidations in the police department, while reducing gun violence and overall crime by 10 percent. Working with District Attorney Kathleen Rice, our Nassau Gun buyback program took 3,000 illegal guns off the streets. Thanks and gratitude is given to our dedicated Nassau County Police force who keep our residents and neighborhoods safe.
I also commend Assessor Jim Davis and ARC Director Darlene Harris for launching a settlement program to eliminate $30 million of debt a year. We work with homeowners to settle challenges before demanding payment of their taxes. This plan has saved all taxpayers money—to the tune of $58 million over the past two years. I would also like to thank them for their efforts to insure no Sandy-affected individuals suffer property tax harm and no unaffected property owner is made to pay more for losses in Sandy-damaged neighborhoods.
Former Parks Commissioner, now County Attorney, Carnell Foskey, thank you for expanding athletic and family entertainment options, such as our fabulous free summer concerts, Oktoberfest, Barkfest, the Long Island Fair at Old Bethpage Village Restoration and our Annual Cruise to the Show Car Show, just to name a few. We must continue to raise the funds necessary to save the Games for the Physically Challenged. In fact, I must acknowledge Bethpage School Superintendent Terry Clark, High School Principal Michael
Spence, CORE Club Advisor Scott Lynch, and Senior Class President Conor Nimmo whose fundraising efforts have resulted in raising over $10,000 for the Games this year.
I also commend my Economic Development Team, led by Joseph Kearney, which has created thousands of jobs and launched my successful transit-oriented-workforce rental housing program. To date, over 1,000 apartments have been launched. We have hosted several extremely successful job fairs…and launched a smart phone app called Nassau Works that lists tens of thousands of jobs available for our residents. Our efforts have resulted in Nassau County having the lowest unemployment rate and the largest growth in sales tax revenue in the region.
A priority of mine was to launch the film and TV industry in Nassau County. Nassau County is quickly becoming the Hollywood East of the movie and television industry. Most recently, Carrie Underwood performed a live television broadcast of the Sound of Music on NBC from Grumman Studios. And the most expensive motion picture in history—The Amazing Spiderman 2—was recently filmed in Bethpage as well.
I commend Commissioner Lisa Murphy, for successfully overseeing the merger of six departments resulting in a new Department of Human Services. I also wish to recognize Deputy County Executive for Finance Tim Sullivan for his steady and conservative approach to finances and to NIFA Chairman Jon Kaiman for instilling a collegiate, cooperative approach.
Posthumously, I recognize Veteran Service Agency Executive Director Joseph Pascarella, the best director this agency has ever been led by. Joe leaves a legacy of unprecedented housing opportunities for returning veterans, single-parent veterans and active duty military. The County is on pace to secure a record-breaking $10 million-plus in benefits for local veterans this year.
Last, but not least, I thank my Chief Deputy Rob Walker.
What a team! Collectively their efforts have resulted in Nassau County receiving Governor Cuomo’s NYS Government Efficiency Award. Thank you, Governor Cuomo for being here today. Our successful working relationship is fostered by the leadership of New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos! Thank you, Dean!
I want also to thank my colleagues in the Nassau County Legislature. Our next four years are already full of challenges and opportunities:
• from breaking ground on a world-class Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum and entertainment district to planning a job-generating phase three at the Hub;
• from new opportunities at Belmont Park to the expansion of the film and TV industry;
• from renovating the shuttered social services building to building a new crime lab;
• from making certain every Sandy survivor is back in their home to rebuilding our wastewater treatment plant;
• from planning emergency worker dorms to building a state-of-the-art public safety training center;
• from increasing housing options for our youth to strengthening our transit system.
There is much work to accomplish. But as you can see, I have the team of colleagues in place, a dedicated workforce and intergovernmental cooperation in order to accomplish these goals. I love my job as County Executive, and am so grateful that you have provided me the opportunity of a second term. We want to make this place your home and your children’s home for years to come. God bless you, and these United States of America. And thank you all for being a part of Team Nassau.