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Precinct Vote Was Rushed, Local Legislator Says

DeRiggi-Whitton: Not enough evidence to support Mangano's claims on safety, savings.

Legis. Delia DeRiggi-Whitton issued a statement Tuesday criticizing the Legislature’s passing of a plan to merge police precincts, saying the vote was rushed on a plan which hasn’t been adequately analyzed and is still a work in progress.

“All 19 Nassau County legislators have a duty to know the details of every item before them for a vote, especially when the item could actually put people’s lives at risk,” DeRiggi-Whitton’s statement said. “The police commissioner even admitted that at the very moment he was standing before us testifying about the precinct plan, negotiations were going on between the county executive and the police that could affect details of the plan, while we were supposed to vote on that plan at the same time.”

The Legislature approved the plan 10-9 on Monday, with each vote cast along party lines.

Mangano defended the plan as a measure that will actually increase street patrols while saving residents money.

"I commend the county legislature for approving this public safety plan that adds more police officers to our community and protects residents from a property tax hike," he said in a statement. "... This is a win-win for residents as it results in more safety and not more taxes."

DeRiggi-Whitton contested that view, saying the department’s 177 patrol cars can be decreased to as few as 100 without legislative approval.

“If patrol cars are cut, it is my thinking that they will not be cut in areas where crime is at a high rate, rather from the areas with a history of less crime, which I feel my district falls into. This is why I have a great deal of concern should they decide to make changes at a later date, and would have felt slightly better if we had some type of stipulation in writing. Although the truth is that now that the precinct numbers have been lessened, the commissioner is free to do what he wants with the patrol cars,” she said in her statement.

Under the plan, the sixth precinct in Manhasset will be turned into a community policing center, which will not have the capability of processing arrests or dispatching patrols. Its current coverage area includes Sea Cliff and Glen Head.

DeRiggi-Whitton said she expects no savings for taxpayers. She cited an independent review which she said showed a potential savings of $12 million, which doesn’t count money necessary to improve the remaining precinct facilities or the possibility of additional overtime “needed to process arrests in what are already busy headquarters.”

She criticized Mangano and his staff for not respecting government’s process.

“The executive is supposed to have to prove the worth of its plans to the legislative branch before it votes to approve those plans. That is not happening in Nassau,” she said. 

Gary B March 07, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Delia protects the unions, not the tax payer. Shame on her.
David March 07, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Wasn't the study based on the fact that the plan would not start at the beginning of the year therefore losing a few months?
Greta March 07, 2012 at 06:51 PM
how can any legislator who is related to a police chief and not be expected to advocate for the police? even with sufficient minimum staffing written into the nassau contract there are and always have been significant abuses of OVERTIME. the cops think the public are fools. last year's overtime costs were preposterous. why can't Nassau manage their police costs like most other municipalities in this country? we taxpayers do not have the municipal money coming into our household from multiple sources. more attention should have been paid to the cost of policing Nassau LONG before it got to this.
Micah Danney March 08, 2012 at 05:19 AM
The study mentioned was done by The Office of Legislative Budget Review (OLBR), whose purpose is to provide legislators with independent analysis of plans like the merger before they must vote. The OLBR testified that savings would be lower than the $19.2 million this year if the plan was implemented in the second quarter, and also because it would necessitate one of two options - taking out loans with interest to provide retirement incentives, or laying off police with the lowest salaries, as the highest-paid are protected by their seniority.
James Colomusto March 11, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Remember this plan would save 34 dollars per household a year. What do you pay for cable and cell phone every month. I think that Leg. Whitton has the tax payers safety in mind when she along with 8 others with common sense vote against this plan. There are plenty of other areas in government to save before we diminish our public safety.

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