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Nassau County Comptroller’s Report: January 6, 2014

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.

Our latest step came last week when we made available to the public on the Comptroller’s Facebook page 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 by using Facebook, Twitter and Google Docs. Not a single taxpayer dollar has been spent for this important public service.  

Historically, to view this type of information a Freedom of Information Law request was necessary. 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 County spent over $700 million on contracts with hundreds of vendors in 2013 and processes over 50,000 payments to these vendors. The Comptroller’s Office receives hundreds of bills weekly and, after careful review, pays for the work or product that was performed according to the contract specifications. These 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.

My office always strives to get the most out of every tax dollar and makes every attempt to give the taxpayers all the information possible. 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 prior to payments. In short, Nassau County is operating as you would expect an efficient business to operate.

You can expect us to continue to provide taxpayers with a snapshot of exactly where their money is going. We will be updating the information on a weekly basis and as always, we welcome suggestions as to how we can improve the County’s level of transparency. 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

One local playwright and his company — The Plainview Project — seem to be headed to the big leagues.

Claude Solnik of Plainview, the Plainview Project’s writer, is married with two children. While he has a master’s degree in dramatic writing from New York University, after graduating he ended up going into journalism, which currently remains his day job. But in his free time he indulged in his true passion, hammering out numerous play scripts until the day they he realized that he needed to stop sitting on these works he was creating and put them in the hands of actors that could give them life.

Even as they hoped the parties would reach a last-minute settlement, commuters across Long Island were scrambling last week to devise alternate plans for getting to work if Long Island Rail Road’s 5,400 workers go on strike July 20. And they were vocal in their anger with the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The strike, it seems, has roused commuter ire over a wide range of LIRR issues, from timeliness to cleanliness to costs.

“I’ll have to figure out a new way home from work,” said Marco Allicastro, a 20-year-old Queens resident waiting for a train home at the Bethpage station after a day’s work at the local King Kullen. “Long Island doesn’t really have a lot of options in terms of transportation. Maybe I should get a new job.”


Calendar

Sonny And Perley

Saturday, July 26

Women Artists You Should Know

Thursday, July 31

Adult Summer Reading Club

Through Aug. 7



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