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Fiscal Emergency Declared in Nassau County

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wages for county employees will be frozen in Nassau County after a state oversight board declared a fiscal emergency in the wealthy Long Island community.

The Nassau County Interim Finance Authority voted unanimously in favor of the step after reviewing the revised budget submitted on Tuesday by County Executive Edward Mangano.  His plan proposed cuts of nearly $182 million that included layoffs, closing a police precinct and selling off county property.

The four of the six members of NIFA present at Thursday's meeting said the new financial plan did not balance the budget, and that the county was borrowing against anticipated money. The board also said that planned land sales were in question given the economy. Ronald Stack, chairman of NIFA, said Nassau County is in crisis. He stressed that NIFA is not running the county, but is overseeing the finances.

Jerry Larrichiuta, president of the local CSEA union, said it looks like the county is trying to balance the budget on the backs of public employees. "Between, you know, responsible budgeting, raising taxes just a little bit — I'm a taxpayer, so are my members, we don't like high taxes — and spending the money responsibly, we could have avoided this," he said.

Both the CSEA and the Nassau PBA unions said they plan to fight this decision in court. They argue that NIFA's actions require county legislative approval.

NIFA said it is working the county to come up with a new fiscal plan and that Mangano is cooperating.

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