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Nassau Notebook: Mangano Explains Precinct Decision, NCPD Petty Cash Audit

A weekly look-in at the news of Nassau County.

Statement From Mangano on Precinct Restructuring

The following is from Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano:

"Shame on Nassau County Democrat Legislators Scannell and Solages for playing politics with public safety.

I refuse to play politics with public safety. I understand why the PBA opposes my plan that reduces costly police overtime and eliminates unnecessary administrative positions, saving residents millions in higher taxes. I don’t understand why a few legislators are opposing saving residents up to $20 million. One has to question whether the PBA's $600,000 in political contributions has something to do with their fear mongering approach to the issue.

I had a choice. I could raise property taxes 19 percent or I could cut spending, including a long overdue reorganization of the police department. I chose to cut spending because I will not raise property taxes in this economy. The police reorganization plan takes cops from behind desks and reassigns them to community policing while keeping the same number of patrol cars on our streets.

Residents should not be fooled by the PBA's scare tactics. When you dial 911, the call goes to a 911 Call Center in New Cassel, then to the police car in your neighborhood -- that will not change under this plan as all 177 patrol cars remain in their current neighborhoods.

The three dozen police officers earning six-figure salaries that staff administrative desk jobs in the back office of the police precinct, will now be moved. Currently, these officers are restricted by contractual rules from leaving their position to assist the public. They must man these positions 24 hours a day, seven days a week and do not have police cars at their disposal. This plan consolidates these administrative desk positions within four precincts while keeping all eight current buildings open -- four as precincts and four as Community Policing Centers.

In order to change the status quo, Nassau legislators must stand up to the special interests groups. I trust that a majority of Nassau County Legislators will do so, as we must protect both public safety and family budgets."

Maragos: Audit Finds Petty Cash Policy Not Being Enforced in NCPD

Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos released his audit of the Nassau County Police Department’s (NCPD) petty cash accounts and found inadequate control of access and usage of petty cash accounts. Major findings included the NCPD not sending reconciliations to the treasurer’s office for more than a year, individual police officers not returning excess petty cash from their travel expenses in a timely manner and providing improper documentation for miscellaneous petty cash.

"While the overall sum of money the police department has failed to return is minor, the lack of discipline to follow the county’s petty cash policy is concerning," Maragos said. "I am glad the department has agreed with most of our recommendations and will begin to have strict oversight over the use of petty cash.”

The audit found improper use and a lack of supporting documentation of miscellaneous petty cash. Three vouchers were found totaling $274 that had been split to stay below the $100 threshold limit, 24 vouchers totaling $1,756 were not supported by original receipts and six vouchers totaling $448 that were not supported by receipts at all, but only packing slips with no dollar amounts listed.

One senior officer's excess cash advance of $166 had not been returned and was 358 days overdue, but recouped by the petty cash custodian from his reimbursement from a subsequent trip.

According to Maragos, excess cash is supposed to be returned within 10 working days after the completion of travel; failure to do so violates the countywide Procedure Travel Policy, the New York State General Municipal Law and the Internal Revenue Service Business Expenses guidelines. These regulations and policies require that where any employee fails to return such excess cash advance at the time of submitting the travel voucher, the municipality shall deduct the amount of the unreturned excess advance from the salary of the employee, or added to the employees W-2.

Additionally, Maragos determined that petty cash monthly bank reconciliations had not been sent to the county treasurer for the period July 2009 to December 2010. The custodian informed the comptroller that copies of the missing reconciliations would be sent.

The full report is available on the comptroller's website.

Mangano Joins Senators Martins, Zeldin to Introduce Bill to End MTA Payroll Tax for Counties, Towns and Villages

Mangano was on hand late last week when Sen. Jack Martins and Sen. Lee Zeldin introduced a bill (S-6206) to exempt all counties, towns and villages from having to pay the MTA Payroll Tax. Martins and Zeldin, since taking office last January, have been committed to eliminating the payroll tax that was enacted in 2009.

The Senators are introducing the bill as a way to provide tax relief to municipalities that are still forced to pay the .34 percent tax per $100 of payroll to pay the MTA.

Last month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that exempted the MTA Payroll Tax for entities, including businesses, with a payroll of $1.25 million or less, as well as all private and public schools. That's more than 700,000 of the taxpayers who were paying it.

Approximately 80 percent of all employers received a total elimination. Thousands of others received a reduction. However, many counties, including Nassau and Suffolk, as well as towns and villages with payrolls over that threshold, are still paying the tax.

Residents Voice Concerns with Community Policing Plan

Residents had their questions answered at Tuesday night’s community policing plan reaction meeting at the East Meadow Public Library. Click here for more on the community policing plan and to see resident's reactions.

Eisenhower Park Dog Run

Legis. Norma Gonsalves, R-East Meadow, told Patch this week that the design phase of the Eisenhower Park based dog run is completed. Click here for more on the potential dog run.

James M. February 13, 2012 at 04:11 PM
No it's not. Everyone does it from NYPD to NYSTroopers.
Merrick7 February 13, 2012 at 04:17 PM
If it makes you feel better, I personally am not for it from what I understand of it now. I do not think overcrowding the 7th precinct with 1st precinct is a smart idea. I do not think detectives can get their own work done in the smaller space or that is more efficient to have the overflow go to Mineola. I also think the 1st precinct has completely different populations and problems and infrastructure than the 7th so it is a very incompatible combination. Also to now have someone arrested in baldwin arrested and take that cop off the street for over 20 minutes while they go all the way to seaford to process him and then go back to the patrol does not help public safety. Again from what I know I am not in favor of it either. But i do want to hear it through and not dismiss it out right.
Bill Alderman February 13, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Merrick 7 The second meeting was at EM Public library on Tues nite 2/7. Hosted by Leg. Norma Gonsalves. Mr.Dale was previous engaged. Steven E. Skrynecki, the Nassau County Police Chief spoke for 1 1/2 hours and took intricate questions. Deputy County Executive in charge of Public Safety Dr. Victor Politi also spoke to residents in outlying the plan.. and we were told in no uncertain terms that.... "due to the fiscal crisis, we need to evolve. We need to cut delicately certain things like 100 positions thru incentives or Mr Mangano will have no choice to lay off officers from key positions, leaving us worse off". (their words not mine.) Hence the scapel/chainsaw comment. you might want to read the EM Patch article "Residents Voice Concerns with Community Policing Plan" ,By Jordan Lauterbach ( who will back up what I have stated) but you'll see the detailed colored grafix boards, pie charts, colored flow charts in the photo that was explained in great detail . Plus one officer in particular had a intricate data sheet.
Merrick7 February 13, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Thank you Bill. I will read into the east meadow meeting. Actually there were quite a few community association meetings other than just at east meadow, for your knowledge. That might have been the second meeting you attended, but it was one of many community meetings. I will look into this and read about it further and todays meeting in Mineola as well.
Mary McKab February 13, 2012 at 09:32 PM
James Marshall, It is illegal. Look it up, a law as just passed recently
James M. February 13, 2012 at 11:55 PM
THe law I read states that an officer cannot be penalized for not meeting quotas. It doesn't say anything about quotas themselves being illegal. N.Y. LAB. LAW § 215-a : NY Code - Section 215-A: Discrimination against employees for failure to meet certain ticket quotas
Wayne Smith February 14, 2012 at 02:25 PM
A lof of people have expressed opposition to the Mangano plan, based on a concern that it would lead to additional crime. Indeed, at least a couple of our county legislators have staked out this position, in line with a view that crime is already bad in Nassau County and on its way up. Comments on this blog and elsewhere have made it clear that many people don't feel safe in their homes or on the street and Mangano's plan would only make things worse. Yet, when it comes to the Nassau County Police Department, it's not as if we don't spend a fair chunk of change already. Indeed, as I've noted elsewhere, if you're like me, over 60% of your county property tax bill goes to the police department, a remarkable ratio given the full range of municipal services the county provides. So I think it's fair to ask, is the police department giving us a fair return in terms of public safety, given that we spend so much and yet so many people feel so unsafe? And if the answer is they really are, do we then need to spend more? And if we do, how much more? Instead of 60+% of our property taxes, should it be 70%? 80%? More? And what other part of the country budget should be reduced to pay for this additional police investment? Or should we simply raise taxes? It's one thing for a private citizen to state their opposition, but public officials have an obligation to state what they are acutally for, in part by answering questions such as these.
Bill Alderman February 14, 2012 at 03:22 PM
62% is actually the national average on places that have similar demographics. But we need to cut waste. We need better record keeping for expenditures. We need a business manager that will cut unnecessary spending. Instead of having well paid , well meaning, well trained personnel handing out accident reports, working evidence lockers, doing finger prints and so on. Let's re-hire some of those laid off county workers to do the basic tasks and put our shilled and respected officers on the streets in our neighborhoods. The officers WANT to be there and we want them there too. Not standing on line in 1 of 4 precincts waiting and waiting to do prisoner intakes!
Bill Alderman February 14, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Sorry TYPO I meant...... and put our SKILLED (not shilled ) and respected officers on the streets in our neighborhoods.
Merrick7 February 15, 2012 at 03:17 AM
I must interject Bills comments to make a point here. The NCPD are not doing the best job at the same time. If you recall the recent scandal regarding the disabilities faked in the LIRR well actually a bigger scandal one of the largest of our time for a nation in the 1990s the Nassau PD were faking disability to do the very same thing until state and federal investigation. Also as you mention finger prints and evidence lockers bill do we forget the County PD were in charge of the now closed crime lab which is costing hundreds of thousands of dollars perhaps millions to redo at an outside location and remains shutdown for being corrupted. Also the biggest and most expensive lawsuits against the county over the past ten years based on judicial records has been the Nassau PD unions and former members. The cost of these lawsuits are passed on to residents in the form of taxes. I am not saying I do not respect the police but these are factual occurrences when weighing support for them.
Merrick7 February 15, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Also Jason Pinsky who created many of the blunder in the police department crime lab, was not fired or reprimanded instead simply reassigned
Merrick7 February 15, 2012 at 03:27 AM
it was the only lab in 2010 in the NATION to be put on probation and then finally shutdown in 2011.
Merrick7 February 15, 2012 at 03:35 AM
Not to mention the scandal surrounding the Nassau County Police Department Foundation (private nonprofit started by former and current NCPD officials, like former commissioner mulvey) accused of showing preferential treatment to those who have been big donors. Allowing those who commit crime but have donated to get off with so much as a warning.
Merrick7 February 15, 2012 at 03:39 AM
then there is the expensive computer program that no cop can figure out how to use and is more costly than budgeted for and has actually increased overtime, costing taxpayers more money
Merrick7 February 15, 2012 at 03:42 AM
What about the refusal to comply with the Asset Forfeiture Bureau's FOIL requests. There is an over two million dollar balance which is supposed to be used to recooperate victims for their losses through selling of criminal tools from the crime in this federal program and the department and bureau have released nothing about the flow of funds other than the cash balance
Wayne Smith February 15, 2012 at 11:02 AM
The ratio of 62% may be in line with Nassau's demographic profile (although I'm not sure how that would get calculated) but you have to wonder if it makes sense in the context of a shrinking economic base. Remember that housing values contilnue to drop on Long Island, and since assessments follow valuation, this means that the percentage of your total county property tax bill going to the police department will actually have to go up in the years ahead, even if expenditures remain the same. If that were to happen,what other parts of the county budget get crowded out? This is before considering that apparently so many people in this county feel so unsafe, which would argue for spending even more money. The only other alternative would be to raise taxes again, which I would have to argue would be totally irresponsible given how fragile the economy is. Improving some of the practices you identify makes all the sense in the world, but that's not going to generate nearly enough savings to make up for the decline in housing values nor will it do much to address the fact that somehow, despite how much we already spend on the police department, people still don't feel safe.
Off to Work February 15, 2012 at 12:26 PM
All over todays news, a third NYC Cop shot this year alone. On their websites over 750 NYC Cops killed since 1863, Nassau county luckily hasnot suffered a cop shot by a criminal since 1975. James tell us about their salarys and retirement package as compared to yours? Please do. Oh the silence.................
Bill Alderman February 15, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Dear Off to work you wrote "Nassau county luckily ha snot suffered a cop shot by a criminal since 1975." You are so wrong my friend it is not funny. The most recent and closest to home was an officer was shot at East Meadow plaza on 12/30/11 read Patch article http://eastmeadow.patch.com/articles/officer-shot-at-east-meadow-plaza then before that an officer was shot twice in Hempstead on 12/2/2011. look at http://www.wpix.com/wpix-hempstead-cop-shot,0,6842059.story DUDE!!!???? Go to the Patch and type in "Officer Shot" in the inquiry and you will see it occurs about twice a month on average, that they report.
james February 15, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Why are you addressing this towards me? Besides your "facts" are completly wrong. Just so you know, Im a retired NYPD Detective. Ive been retired for 5 years. So I happen to know a lot about NY's benefit package. Ive been enjoying the best benefit for the past 5 years and I deserve it.
Merrick7 February 15, 2012 at 06:12 PM
I completely agree. Even if he meant shot and killed, a Nassau PD officer was shot and killed in March of 2011 in Massapequa Park. I am all for a healthy discussion of the pros and cons of the department, but the 1975 comment is just ignorant of news for at minimum the past 5 years.
Bill Alderman February 15, 2012 at 07:37 PM
The problem is that there actually are residents that think the way "Off To Work' does and do not think that we are headed down this slippery slope to a roaring Avalanche of trouble. These terrible occurances heaped upon our law enforcement officers will increase exponentially if this plan goes through as proposed.. And no amount of salary or pension is worth even one of their lives.
Still at Work February 15, 2012 at 08:44 PM
sorry I had my facts wrong. I reviewed the official NCPD Website . Last officer shot and killed by a criminal was 1975 in West Hempstead. If you dispute this please look yourself. I apoligize James I wrongly assumed your a member of our local police due to your very supportive of their over the top retirement packages. Our County is in deep fiscal crisis. Ed Mangano needs our support. 600K serverance packages for retiring police officers is adding to this. New York City retirements do not garnish hese salarys or retirement "Bye byes" - thats why city is rich and we are not. That was my point. James enjoy your YOU earned it the hard way Iam certain.
james February 15, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Actually I got a very nice bye bye package. I am very supportive of any police officer. I also don't think you can truly put a price on someone who is willing to lay down his life for you and your family. Forget about shootings, police do heroic acts every day in every town. You just don't hear about it. There are gun arrests everyday even in Nassau county that go perfectly smooth. You don't hear about it because nobody got the shot. Btw, Nassau cops work alone. Try doing a car stop alone at 4am on a car with blacked out windows. Every cop gets that pit in their stomach feeling while approaching. But they do it anyway. Dangers exist in ALL police jobs.
Bill Alderman February 15, 2012 at 10:48 PM
To Still at Work..... apology accepted. That was very gentlemanly of you. But sometimes you gotta research multiple sites . (I saw one that says Elvis Presley is alive and a police officer in Albuquerque) LOL LOL To James I also don't think you can truly put a price on someone who is willing to put themselves in danger everyminute of the day to protect another person and their families.They have my undying respect, like Soldiers and Firemen too. And this plan will put added stress and work and danger on our law enforcement depts .
Bill Alderman February 15, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Sorry james I meant to add you too have my gratitude for all that you have done as well. Enjoy your well deserved ....rest
paul February 16, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Please state the FACTS for the people of Merrick. They may not know you embelish a bit to sound correct. The NCPD and pizzas as you state is not accurate.
paul February 16, 2012 at 02:00 AM
To Bill: You stated: You were at 2 meetings so far . You attended them in person. You heard all they had to say...twice" Then there is no need to go to anywore meetings if you heard all they had to say. Well if you attended them I guess you were there in person or were you?
paul February 16, 2012 at 02:04 AM
To bad you know nothing about real Police work or you would not have made those statements...
james February 16, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Thanks bill.
Merrick7 February 17, 2012 at 09:56 AM
@Paul. I am not trying to state any facts for the people as you put it. But perhaps you could. I said i think that is what Bill was discussing if you read my comment. I did not say that was the answer. Bill did not correct me so I assume that is what he was referring. Can you please state the FACTS as you put it? All i was asking for was clarity and a respectful tone neither of which does your response contain

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