Make no mistake about it: Party registration will not stand in Mangano’s way, and I’m confident that he will be re-elected in November. Nassau’s voters are more enlightened, and won’t vote solely along party lines.
Mangano has steered the county through very turbulent times. He inherited a $300 million-plus deficit and a bloated, patronage-ridden bureaucracy. In response, he immediately developed a budget that cut over $171 million in spending and approximately 20 percent of the county work force, which now operates with the fewest employees since the 1950s.
During a fiscal crisis, Mangano and his County Industrial Development Agency have managed to approve 13 projects that have committed to creating approximately 1,300 new jobs and retaining nearly 800 permanent jobs in Nassau County. He also eliminated a proposed 16.5 percent property tax increase planned by the prior administration, and has consolidated or privatized several of the county’s departments and services, saving the county millions of dollars.
When Mangano took office, he was faced with a Legislature whose majority all too often did not work on behalf of the taxpayers, but rather tempted him to raise property taxes by not supporting bonding to repay money owed to homeowners due to the over-assessment of taxes paid on their homes and property.
Democrats deliberately withheld the bonding on these payments in order to force Mangano to raise property taxes. To his credit, he refused to raise taxes, and instead made the right decision to eliminate hundreds of patronage jobs and consolidate police districts, reducing the cost to taxpayers by $290 million over the past three years.
Governor Cuomo thought so highly of Mangano’s efforts that he awarded Nassau County $5 million for saving taxpayers money through its consolidated and streamlined government.
Mangano wasn’t very well known when he took office, but that has changed. People saw what kind of leader he was during Hurricane Sandy, and have been pleased that he kept his promise not to raise taxes. In November, I believe they will put aside party politics and re-elect him.
Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column? ADAmato@liherald.com.