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Nassau Notebook: NIFA Takeover Anniversary

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

NIFA Takeover Anniversary

Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of the takeover of Nassau County’s finances by a state oversight board. The Nassau Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) instituted the control period after the county ran an estimated deficit of $176 million in fiscal year 2011.

The Mangano administration attempted to block the takeover through the courts, but eventually dropped the suit and numerous announcements of cutbacks followed, as well as layoffs of union workers.

“I welcome NIFA's oversight, but after one year I don't see much improvement in the county's financial situation and although NIFA has not been enthusiastic of [Mangano's] policies, they have still supported them,” new legislative minority leader Kevan Abrahams, D-Hempstead, said in a statement. “We still face a looming deficit and this administration has yet to propose a clear road map as to how we're getting out of the hole.”

Mangano Backs Cuomo Mandate Relief and Pension Reform Plans

On Monday, New York State Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy joined Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and LIA President and CEO Kevin Law to discuss how Governor Andrew Cuomo's mandate reform proposals will save Long Island taxpayers more than $140 million over the next five years and his pension reform proposal will save $10 to 15 billion over the next 30 years.

According to Mangano, the governor's executive budget closes the current $2 billion budget deficit with no new taxes or new fees. It also proposes sweeping mandate relief and pension reform that will save taxpayers and local governments billions of dollars.

Highlights of the mandate relief plan include:

  • Creating a plan for the state to take over 100 percent of the costs of Medicaid growth that will be phased in over three years, saving local governments $1.2 billion over the next five years;
  • Creating a pension reform plan that will save state taxpayers and local governments outside New York City $83 billion, and will save New York City $30 billion over the next 30 years

More specifically, Cuomo proposed sweeping structural reforms to relieve local governments of state mandates that drive up local costs, according to a release from Mangano. These reforms, which address the largest cost-drivers for local governments, will help municipal leaders meet the pressures of the prolonged economic downturn, and will help local governments meet the goals of the property tax cap.

"Not only is the governor balancing New York's budget, he is also finally addressing the burden of state-imposed mandates on local municipalities with his mandate relief plan," Mangano said. "His proposal to take over the growth of Medicaid costs for counties is especially welcome news."

Two Women Wanted in Connection with Deception Burglaries

Nassau County Police have issued composite sketches of two unknown women wanted in connection with a series of deception burglaries that are preying on elderly homeowners throughout the county.

The pair, which are believed to be working as a team, are wanted in connection with a series of residential deception burglaries that began in December and have continued through January.

"Reading with the Monsters" Program

Mangano and New York State Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg joined Monster Truck Driver Greg Winchenbach and children from the Peninsula Public Library to celebrate after reading more than 4,000 books collectively as part of the "Reading with Monsters" Program. The Nassau Library System and Monster Jam partnered to promote reading amongst children between the ages of 4 and 12 from Nov. 9, 2011 – Jan. 16, 2012. A five-week reading program was offered through 54 libraries within the Nassau Library System.

Five Towns Patch will have full video coverage of the event on Monday. Be sure to check back then.

Bob Shane February 04, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Considerations: Attendance record Lesson plan preparation On-the-job conduct Relevant degrees and certifications Effective teaching methods Student progress and achievement Standardized and in-class test results Administrative and peer evaluations Student evaluations Some are pretty straightforward; others, not so much. Everything taken together, however, might provide a clearer picture. Take 'test results', for instance. What might raise a red flag or two here? How about consistent poor results among a majority of the students across all class sessions? The two key words are 'consistent' and 'majority'. This would also apply to student progress and achievement. 'Effective teaching methods' and 'administrative and peer evaluations' tie into one another -- i.e.: The one can determine the other. This can be done over several sessions via in-class observations conducted by specially assigned master teachers and administrators. I'm not an educator, but I believe something like this already takes place with pre-tenured teachers. Finally, and not to be taken lightly, are student evaluations. Oh sure, you're going to get a few wise@sses who will bad-mouth a teacher no matter what, but once again, the two key words -- 'consistent' and 'majority' -- come into play. If a teacher consistently gets bad evaluations from a majority of the students, it should raise a red flag. <cont. on next post>
Margaret February 04, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Wee when 40% of a teachers evaluation comes from test scores, no matter what your class make-up is, only test scores matter. What about special ed teachers-- the special ed kids scores make up a special ed teachers evaluation-- how does that make sense?? The whole process needs to be re-created
Mac February 04, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Vinny I don't actually know if she was fired. I just assumed so by revoking her contract into a one year deal. This seems like a mess. A superintendent recommends tenure which is illegal than the board approves it. Where is any accountability and I don't blame her for suing. Bottom line is the taxpayers will pay one way or the other.
Lisa February 04, 2012 at 09:46 PM
http://front.moveon.org/the-most-aggressive-defense-of-teachers-youll-hear-this-year/#.Ty2gt1l0Hoo.facebook
Frank June 13, 2012 at 04:27 PM
bill in State assembly to override NIFA.

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