Vera Fludd, 56, of Freeport, has 30 years of experience under her belt at the Nassau County Correctional Center and now she will be leading it as sheriff.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran appointed Fludd as the county’s acting sheriff on Jan. 1 and selected her as the jail’s permanent sheriff on March 9. The county’s Rules Committee supported her decision, making Fludd the first African-American and the first woman to hold the position.
Vera Fludd started work at the Nassau County jail 31 years ago at 25. She previously worked as a clerk typist at the county’s Department of Social Services, but had always had an interest in rehabilitative work.
In three decades as a corrections officer, she has moved up the ranks at the jail, becoming the first African-American woman captain and undersheriff.
“I know it’s bigger than me,” she said, adding that she is humbled to hold such positions. “It will affect a lot more people than me. But for me it’s just another job.”
Roughly a year ago, when Fludd was working under former sheriff Michael Sposato, Nassau County Democrats called on him to resign after a string of deaths and lawsuits during his tenure. Six inmates died in 2016, and that July, the state’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, sued the jail’s privatized health provider, Armor Correctional Health Services, for “allegedly failing to provide the proper medical services to inmates.”
Armor agreed to a three-year ban on operating in New York and paid a $350,000 fine, although admitting to no wrongdoing. Its contract ended in May 2017.
Fludd said that a lot has changed at the jail since Schneiderman’s lawsuit, but even more has changed since her appointment in January. “Everybody’s looking to work together and figure out how we can get things done and make it better,” she said.
Some of her staff members used to be her colleagues when she was a captain, which she said made the transition so smooth. Fludd added that she leads by including her staffers in the decision-making process.
“We still work together,” she said. “But at the end of the day, it’s totally different for me in administration. I have to look into where we need improvement, and hope that everybody’s ready and willing to make that shift.”