Written by Ronald Scaglia, Rscaglia@antonnews.com Friday, 22 March 2013 00:00
“The comptroller is there to protect the taxpayers.”
That is what former Nassau Comptroller Howard Weitzman says is the job of a comptroller. It’s something he says he did during his eight years in the position, and it’s something that he wants to do again. Weitzman was elected to the position in 2001 and 2005 before being narrowly defeated by current Nassau County George Maragos in 2009.
Weitzman blames his defeat on a rare illness he contracted in 2009, which he says prevented him from running a full campaign. He says that despite his limited campaigning he was still only defeated by a narrow margin – 800 votes.
Now that he’s feeling better, and he says his doctors have encouraged him to seek office, he is trying to reclaim the position. However, before he gets a chance to have a rematch with Maragos, he first has to win his party’s nomination. Democratic Nassau County Legislator Wayne Wink has recently announced that he is also running for comptroller.
Weitzman is a CPA and served as mayor of Great Neck Estates. He lived in Massapequa for six years and his first two children were born in the old New Island Hospital in Bethpage. He expects strong support from Massapequa and Farmingdale,
“They will know that the taxpayer has a voice looking out for them,” Weitzman said when asked why residents of southeast Nassau would vote for him.
The former comptroller and current candidate also praised the current downtown revitalization project underway in Farmingdale. He said that although Nassau County was one of the first suburban counties in the country, America is changing and changes needs to come with it. He thinks building up downtown areas near railroad stations, which is being done in Farmingdale, is what is needed to revitalize the county.
“We have to offer alternatives, and you build them around railroad stations,” he said. “I give them a lot if credit.” He also added that there should be multiple family dwellings and beautiful single-family homes near stations to accomplish this, and he hopes this vision will be brought to other locations in Nassau as well. In fact, he even said that although he has an issue with Nassau County Executive Executive Edward P. Mangano’s administration on bonding, he would be okay with borrowing if it used to build up downtown areas.
“You rarely see a comptroller say that construction borrowing is bad borrowing,” he commented.
Weitzman also said that he role of the comptroller is to review contracts and accounts payable accounts, conduct audits, and oversee payroll and benefits, He says he did that efficiently when he had the job, saying that the county’s finances were in shambles when he took office in 2001 and by auditing the police, the jails and Social Security, savings of at least $10 million were found. He also remarked that he found waste, fraud and abuse in special districts and that the county saved $5 to $6 million per year eliminating duplicating health coverage for married Nassau employees.
Weitzman also criticized Maragos and current Mangano. He blasted Mangano’s handling of county finances, saying that there has been two bond downgrades and there is no financial plan. He also took issue with the wage freeze imposed by Mangano, which was overturned in court as well as the decision to pass tax certiorari refunds onto school districts, which was also overturned in court. Weitzman said that Maragos had a responsibility to hold Mangano accountable for these policies as well as Mangano’s reliance on bonding to pass budgets, but failed to do so.
“The comptroller’s office has reverted back to the past and Maragos is a puppet for the administration,” Weitzman charged.
Weitzman said if given his old job back he would work towards making Nassau County more competitive with other suburban counties. He said that Westchester doesn’t have the beaches, universities and hospitals that Nassau has, and that young professionals would be attracted to living here if the county’s finances are in order and young people could afford to live here. He added that he stands by his performance and says that will motivate voters to give him the nod against both Wink and Maragos. “They can see what my record was,” he said. “The most important thing is not what they say but what they do,” he said of elected officials.
Friday, 14 June 2013 00:00
“The three airports operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PA) collectively represent the busiest airport system in the United States,” said Senator Kemp Hannon (R-Nassau). “The noise generated by all these overflights has increased steadily over time, and it’s incumbent upon the PA to conduct a noise study to ensure that aircraft noise is given proper consideration by airport operators when they determine which runways and approach paths to use.”
Hannon’s legislation, passed unanimously, is Senate bill 3841, which would require the PA to conduct a noise and land use compatibility study as set forth in 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 150. That report would then be submitted to the governors and legislatures of New York and New Jersey, and would require the PA to hold biennial public hearings at which the public would be heard regarding aircraft noise issues.
Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00
The suburban home setting in Freeport seems a long way from the small farmlands of the Irish midlands. Although former Garden City Schools employee Tom Phelan now lives thousands of miles away from the country he was born and raised in, he is set to release his fifth novel depicting life in his old Irish homeland.
Phelan is set to read from his collection of works on Monday, June 17 at 7 p.m. at the Summer Gazebo Readings on Schoolhouse Green in Oceanside. Though he has been writing for many years before his work was published, his first novel was released in April 1998 when a Dublin publisher accepted In the Season of the Daisies. A decade and a half later, the Freeport native is currently finishing up his fifth novel, Lies, which is set for release in 2014.
Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00
The Garden City Centennials held their annual year-end Soccer Fest at St. Paul’s on Saturday, June 1. The day-long event is the culmination of the soccer season for the more than 2,100 young girls and boys that participate in one of the many programs the Centennials offer. Highlighted by the giving out of the annual awards to all players, the youngsters also enjoyed the fun games and activities throughout the day. Soccer Fest also represented the close of the travel season for the 41 girls and boys teams that compete in the Long Island Junior Soccer League. And with 39 travel teams, the Centennials have become one of the top programs not only on Long Island, but in New York State.
Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00
Not too many attorneys have made their way to glory in the boxing ring. Roseanne “Ro-Hammad Ali” Beovich hopes to become the first when she participates in the 10th annual Long Island Fight for Charity event on November 25 at the Hilton of Melville.
Beovich, an associate attorney at Genser, Dubow, Genser & Cona, LLP in Melville, has no formal boxing experience but “became interested in boxing because I like to try new sports and find activities that will challenge me.”