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Transparency In Government The Public Can See

Confidence and trust in government appears to continue to erode because of political infighting, and the perception of waste, fraud, and limited transparency. This is why my office has taken small yet significant steps to attempt to restore some trust through transparency.

 

Recently the Comptroller's Facebook page made available all 2013 Nassau County contracts with vendors as well as all the bills paid by the county. In keeping with my office’s prudent standards of controlling costs and promoting innovation, we used the latest social media tools to make this information available to the greatest number of residents. Not a single taxpayer dollar has been spent for this important public service.  

 

Historically, access such as this, would require a Freedom of Information Law request. Placing these contracts online provides taxpayers with a snapshot of how their money is being spent, and hopefully, generate feedback from residents if inefficiencies and waste are observed.

 

Nassau spent over $700 million on contracts with hundreds of vendors in 2013 and processes over 50,000 payments to these vendors. Vendors provide a range of essential services and products for taxpayers, including road paving, traffic light maintenance, fraud investigations, social services and transportation for seniors, the needy and children with special challenges. 

 

In the last four years, we reduced government costs by over $300 million by demanding value in contracts, insisting on competitive bidding and verifying that services were delivered as specified. The county is operating as you would expect an efficient business to operate. The Comptroller’s Facebook page is facebook.com/nccomptroller. Your participation and feedback is crucial in assisting me to keep costs down and uncover waste and fraud.


News

The smell of pine, wood and scented candles greet customers with a sense of home as they cross the wooden threshold to the Amish Craft Barn in Seaford. There they will find dolls, birdhouses, quilts, ceramic turkeys, hand-painted Christmas trees, oak furniture and other seasonal and holiday tchotchkes.

 

Massapequa natives Frank and Pam Hoerauf started The Amish Craft Barn & Gift Shoppe 20 years ago after an inspiring visit to Pennsylvania.

Holidays increase daily congestion 

While parking around LIRR train stations is typically a challenge, even on a regular work day, the holidays create more of a struggle for commuters in search of parking spots. LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena said that ridership between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day increases by at least 10 percent; last year it was by 12 percent. Though the MTA is adding more trains to the schedule, that doesn’t ease the parking situation, which is operated not by the LIRR, but by individual municipalities in each town. 

 

“Every station is different,” Arena said. “A good part of our parking is in the hands of the locality. They set the rules essentially.”


Sports

The Island Trees Cross Country teams continue their improvement in 2014. This year the girls’ team has a record of 8-2 and with their victories over Clarke and Wheatley High Schools, they clinched the Division Championship for the first time in Island Trees High School history.

 

The girls are led by senior Captain Angela Brocco who has been rewriting the girl’s record boards. Brocco set the school record for the Warwick Valley 5000 meter course on Sept. 20. 

This season the Girls’ Varsity Soccer Team at Division Avenue has the rare ability to fill every position on the field with a member of the senior class. All 11 seniors have made contributions to the success of this year’s squad.


Calendar

Turkey Cookie - November 21

Lost Nights - November 22

Town of Hempstead Meeting - November 25


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