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Letter: A Response To Mike Barry’s Column

I must take exception to Mike Barry’s recent column trumpeting the County Office of Legislative Budget Review’s  (OLBR)’s “verdict” that the County Comptroller’s office sought and received adequate backup for payments to Super Storm Sandy contractors. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The OLBR report clearly stated that their review was limited in scope and not meant as endorsement or criticism of the FEMA funding and approval process in totality (pg. 3). In fact, payments to the largest vendor, Looks Great Services, which totaled over $34 million, were approved for payment based upon an Excel spreadsheet without adequate documentation (pg. 5).

Mr. Barry’s column also failed to mention that the actions of the Comptroller’s office with respect to contracts and payments for Superstorm Sandy work are currently being investigated by the Nassau County District Attorney and the New York State Attorney General.

As the former Nassau County Comptroller, I am appalled about the current scandal surrounding contracts and unauthorized payments to companies for Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene debris removal. Comptroller George Maragos should appear before the county legislature to discuss payments that Nassau County has made to various contractors and disclose all records associated with the various contracts.

 It is one of the core responsibilities of the County Comptroller to serve as financial watchdog safeguarding taxpayer dollars, including providing oversight on county contracts.  If the appropriate oversight occurred and proper procedures were followed, there is no reason why Mr. Maragos should avoid making records publicly available and answer questions before the legislature.  

Howard Weitzman

Editor’s note: Howard Weitzman is expected to run for Nassau County Comptroller on the Democratic line in this year’s election.

News

It was quite a panel at the Hicksville Community Center Oct. 20 as State Senator Jack Martins and Senate Candidate Adam Haber discussed their qualifications and answered public questions about their upcoming election bids in the 7th Senate District. Congressman Steve Israel was on hand as well as 13 District State Assemblyman Michael Montesano and contender Lou Imbroto. The event was hosted by Northwest Civic Association President Joel Berse.

Martins, who previously served as Mayor of Mineola and was elected to Senate in 2011, said that the State of New York is in much better financial shape since he has taken office.

Alan Yu, an external auditor from the firm, Cullen & Danowski LLP gave the findings of the annual district external audit at Oct. 22’s Hicksville Board of Education meeting. Discussed at the meeting were the financial statements of the 2013-14 school year which officially ended June 30.

According to Yu, the Hicksville School district has a fund balance of $34 million. Roughly 26 to 27 percent of the general fund balance comprises the total budget.


Sports

The Hicksville girls volleyball team improved to 7-1 by knocking off Oceanside in three consecutive sets by scores of 25-13, 25-19 and 25-14.

Emily Markakis played terrificly, using a powerful serve to record three aces, seven kills and added nine digs. Nikki Chase added six kills and eight digs. Additionally, Raeann Dong was versatile—recording three aces, seven kills and nine digs.

The Girls Varsity soccer team, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wore pink uniforms and pink socks in their game on Oct. 8 against MacArthur whom they defeated 1-0. The girls and boys soccer programs at Hicksville High School are selling pink ribbon car magnets with a soccer ball and HHS on it with the words “Kick Cancer” on the ribbon. All the money raised will go to the Sarah Grace Foundation, which is a local foundation trying to beat pediatric cancer. The players plan to raise $1,000 for this organization

— From Hicksville High School


Calendar

Safe Trick or Treat

October 31

Election Day

November 4

Senior Luncheon

November 6



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com