The two also clashed over what the role of the comptroller should be in county government. Maragos said that the comptroller should be an active participant in government, while Weitzman said that the he should represent the interests of the people and make sure money is being spent correctly.
Scott, the moderator, closed the question portion of the debate by asking the two candidates one of the hardest questions of all: naming something that the other had done well while in office.
Weitzman said he liked that Maragos spoke out against some of the county borrowing. And Maragos complimented Weitzman for the staff that he had hired, many of whom Maragos said he kept on.
After fielding questions from the audience for more than 90 minutes, the candidates were given an opportunity to give their closing statements.
“I’m running for this office again because like many of you, I’m deeply troubled by the direction of the county’s finances,” Weitzman said. “Every single outside independent financial source — whether it’s Newsday, The Wall Street Journal or members of NIFA — have been critical of Mr. Maragos and the county’s financial management. Mr. Maragos has stood here tonight and tried to convince you that everything in Nassau County is fine and that things are actually improving.”
“I believe you heard two very contrasting philosophies and management styles,” said Maragos. “My opponent is laid back, takes no responsibility…On the other side, I’m a very active and very progressive comptroller that brought about real significant change to the comptroller’s office. Made it more significant, more powerful, and delivered results for tax payers.”