Friday, 19 July 2013 00:00
Nine months after Sandy hit Long Island, the Nassau County government is still reeling from the effects of the superstorm as another “active-to-extremely active” hurricane season is predicted to be upon us. One county lawmaker, Legis. Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove) is seeking to open up bi-partisan discussions at the Legislature that she hopes will not only clean up Nassau’s Sandy track record, but also better prepare the county for the next storm or superstorm… which could be coming all too soon.
“As we enter another hurricane season, instead of improving our emergency process, the Nassau County government has yet to be reimbursed by FEMA for most of its emergency spending. We have the Nassau County District Attorney and the NY State Attorney General investigating that spending. And, Nassau County is now being sued by our primary contracted emergency clean-up company, Looks Great Services,” DeRiggi-Whitton said. “What we need to be doing right now is learning from the experience of Sandy and getting a better system in place.”
In the interest of creating a public dialogue on improving Nassau County’s emergency process, DeRiggi-Whitton is asking all 19 Nassau lawmakers to publicly discuss a bill that would help the county government examine all Sandy-related spending. The 9 members of the Nassau Legislature’s Democratic caucus submitted the “Nassau County Recovery
Efforts Tracking Law” this spring. It creates a framework by which all cleanup and recovery spending is made transparent and public through a web portal and the requirements of sufficient and specific details.
Long Island Jobs with Justice, a non-profit advocacy organization has been calling for increased transparency and accountability related to Superstorm Sandy. They applauded DeRiggi-Whitton’s efforts and called the Sandy bill “a necessary step towards a full and just recovery for Long Island.” Long Island Executive Director Charlene Obernauer has met with with DeRiggi-Whitton to offer insight and testified before the Nassau County Legislature twice regarding Nassau’s emergency spending process.
“When contractors are given public subsidies, there should be no secrets as to where the money is being spent. This bill will ensure that our public monies are being spent appropriately and in full compliance with the law,” said Obernauer. She lauded the fact that the bill would create a public online database on the Nassau County website to summarize recovery funds and make project details publicly available. This includes job creation and retention numbers, the type and value of funding provided, and full disclosure of legal violations.
Both the Legislator and Long Island Jobs with Justice are calling for the bill to be put on the calendar and discussed by the legislature. For more visit www.DeliaDeRiggiWhitton.com.