Abraham Lincoln once said, "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts."
The facts may be complicated and not conducive to sound bite gulps. But our experience is that our readers want the facts, just the facts, and can jolly well form their own opinions.
When we read in a daily paper that Bob Graziano had said that he was not paid enough as the superintendent of the Water Authority of Great Neck North, a red flag went up. We have known Mr. Graziano for over 11 years and know him to be a highly competent, yet humble man. It seemed completely out of character that he would have made such an arrogant statement.
We called him to discuss the matter and sure enough, his comment had been taken out of context. He had explained to the reporter that he performs a dual role of financial officer and water manager that in many water companies require two employees. His throw away line was, "So if you look at it that way, I'm not paid enough."
As we sifted through the charges being leveled at the authority, one by one, it became clear that an appalling ignorance about water production and delivery systems as well as standard governmental procedures made shoddy the very foundation of the stories.
There may well be corruption and waste in some of the special districts, authorities and branches of government. Careful investigations and audits should be conducted case by case. But the charges being brought against the Great Neck Water Authority have such blatant untruths and distortions coupled with a tone of hysteria that one must wonder about the credibility of other stories dealing with efficiencies or their lack thereof.
Defenders of government services that are local, accessible to tax-payers and that maintain a high level of quality service have been drowned out in the chorus of voices that trumpet solely looking at the bottom line.
A few weeks ago, there was a watermain break on Middle Neck Road that occurred around midnight. Calls were immediately made to Mr. Graziano, the Village of Great Neck's mayor and the Nassau County Public Works, the entity in charge of Middle Neck Road. With Mr. Graziano supervising, water authority crews and village crews labored to bring the situation under control. At 2 a.m., a supervisor for Nassau County showed up to "access" the situation. He arrived with no men and no equipment. By then, the crisis had been resolved.
Who do you think saved money?
Who do you think saved the day?
- Carol Frank