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Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Government
NIFA tells county to rescind employees’ raises

When the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority imposed a wage freeze for Nassau County employees in March 2011, and renewed it in March 2012 and 2013, it explicitly applied the freeze to the wages of union workers subject to collective bargaining agreements. But NIFA meant the wage freeze to apply to all county employees, its current chairman, Jon Kaiman, recently contended.

John Ciampoli, the Nassau County attorney who waged political and legal battles with NIFA and who County Executive Ed Mangano terminated in November, did not see it that way. In January 2012, he issued a memorandum addressed to County Clerk Maureen O’Connell stating his official opinion that “the salaries of [nonunion] employees are not frozen.”

He cited the following from NIFA’s initial wage freeze resolution to support his claim: “[Pay increases] for employees of the county which will take effect after the date of this order pursuant to collective bargaining agreements, and other analogous contracts or interest arbitration awards requiring such increased payments as of any date thereafter, are, in the same manner, suspended.”

Employees in Mangano’s office, Comptroller George Maragos’s office and District Attorney Kathleen Rice’s office have seen pay increases since NIFA imposed the wage freeze, though spokesmen for all three said that this simply reflected greater duties some employees have taken on or promotions they have received.

O’Connell’s office and that of Kevan Abrahams, the minority leader of the Nassau County Legislature’s Democratic caucus, did not return calls for comment. Cristina Brennan, spokeswoman for the majority Republican caucus, said that Norma Gonsalves, the Legislature’s presiding officer, would not comment on the issue.

Meanwhile, police officers who are members of the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association and civilian county employees who are members of Civil Service Employees Union Local 830 have seen their wages stagnate for nearly three years.

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