The 12-member Community Reconstruction Zone Committee is complete and has started its work — deciding how $25 million can best be spent nearly a year after the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.
The local committee members, tasked with representing Oceanside, Island Park, Harbor Isle and Barnum Island, were appointed by Laura Munafo, an administrative assistant to County Executive Ed Mangano who was appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to run the state program in the county.
While Munafo has declined to provide the names of committee members to the Herald, insiders have detailed its makeup.
Three co-chairmen, Anthony D’Esposito and Tommy Asher of Island Park and Ray Pagano of Oceanside, will lead the group’s work, with help from experts provided by Nassau County and the state.
The Oceanside members of the committee are Ellen Cutler Igoe, Dan Ramos and Ed Scharfberg. The Island Park representatives are Felicia Nicholas and Terry Reichel. The Harbor Isle members are Michael Scully and Christopher Hovarth, and the Barnum Island representatives are Nina Hargrove and Frank Bettineschi.
The group has already held two public meetings, but the state provided no advance notice to the media, and they were sparsely attended.
Many of the names of those on the committee will be familiar to local residents. Igoe is an Oceanside attorney, and Ramos is the deputy grand knight of the local Knights of Columbus. Reichel, a teacher, was named a Holiday Hero for her work in distributing donations after Sandy.
D’Esposito, a New York City police detective, is the chief of the Island Park Fire Department. Asher, a former member of the New York City Fire Department, ran a successful day care business in Island Park until it was devastated by Sandy. Pagano, a transportation sustainability expert for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, is the president of the Oceanside Civic Association.