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Sanitary district problems deeper than Sandy
Herald File Photo
The Oceanside Sanitary District 7 headquarters on Mott Street in Oceanside.



This is the first of a series of articles that will be published in coming weeks concerning the Oceanside Sanitary District 7, its operations and its supervisors. This article focuses on a Hempstead Town audit completed by then-comptroller Howard Weitzman on December 29, 2009.

The recent election contest between incumbent commissioner Michael Sullivan and challenger Ed Scharfsberg brought out arguably the largest turnout for an Oceanside sanitary district election in more than a decade.

Scharfsberg, a town firefighter and retired NYPD detective, won the election by a nearly a 2-1 margin and it was clear from the comments of those leaving the polling place in Oceanside that the overriding issues of the campaign were the actions of the district in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the ongoing belief by many residents that the sanitary district is run like a fiefdom, with all of the decisions being made by the commissioners in the proverbial “smoke-filled room” behind locked doors.

The theme of change and transparency in the wake of Hurricane Sandy was apparent from speaking to a number of Oceanside resident waiting their turn to vote outside the firehouse.

“I certainly was not happy with the actions of the sanitation department and with garbage collection after Sandy,” said Ellen Histger. “I am voting for Scharfberg because in Oceanside, the garbage business is dirty business and things have to change. They didn’t do a decent job after the storm and you did not have pick-up for two weeks unless you live on the same block as somebody who works for the district. There are a lot of politically incorrect things that go on with the district.”

In fact, one of Scharfsberg’s campaign promises was to set up a website to “shine a little light” on the activities and finances of the district.

While a district website does now exist, a check this week found that there is little on it besides the telephone number of the district garage.

Now that he has won a seat on the board and was sworn in nearly three weeks ago, that secrecy, he says is impacting his ability to do what he was elected for.


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Instead of spending time re-reporting on an audit report from over four years ago, it would be much appreciated if the Herald would cover the countless number of community events that occur every week.

Thursday, July 18, 2013 | Report this

As far as the part of your story that is not a mere rehashing of the comptroller's report from 4 years ago, it would be prudent to not rely on "anonymous" sources. If would be great if you could confirm that this source does not stand to gain any economic benefit, whether personal or through a family member, from the comments on the worker's pay. If the person does stand to gain economically, I would imagine that it would be proper protocol to disclose any such personal benefit.

Friday, July 19, 2013 | Report this

How does one read this article and arrive at the conclusion that the problem lies not with a system in which these transgressions have occurred, but in those who pointed out that they occurred? The greed and self-interest of the Sanitation District's leadership has been sufficiently proven. Your accusations against a whistleblower, however, require some kind of validation or evidence in order to be taken seriously or even casually investigated.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 | Report this

The sanitation responded to Superstorm Sandy in a way that was practical and appropriate. There was no way for anyone to have predicted the destruction this storm would cause the after effects it would have on garbage removal. Oceanside sanitation was absolutely fantastic on my block and went above and beyond what we ever expected. I am shocked whenever I see people reporting about the terrible job they did in the aftermath of the storm. They couldn't collect a half of block's worth of garbage without the trucks filling up. Yes, it took a long time for the collections, but given the circumstances that should have been expected.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 | Report this

DA Rice should start an investigation into the corruption. Heads and pensions should roll starting at the top.

Another waste of tax payer money for a special district that does nothing special.

Looks like the commission gave them carte blanche to do whatever they want.

I'm sure nothing has changed in 4 years.

Thursday, July 25, 2013 | Report this
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