Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano announced Monday that his administration would be slashing up to 350 managerial-level and patronage positions throughout various county departments this year in an effort to rid wasteful spending and get the county back on track to fiscal stability.
Mangano, flanked by Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa), made the announcement at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building to a throng of reporters and news outlets. His strategy, called “The Mangano Plan” and outlined on posters at their side, has four main objectives: the repeal of a Home Energy Tax; the reformation of Nassau’s Real Property Tax Assessment System; to cut wasteful spending; and create jobs and opportunity.
The county executive repealed the energy tax and began his attack reforming the tax assessment system—which costs county taxpayers an estimated $250 million annually, he says—on his first official day in office, signing executive orders pulling back the 2.5-percent tax and establishing an Assessment Reform Team at his inauguration Jan. 1.
Withdrawing the energy tax created an estimated $20 million budgetary gap, which NIFA (Nassau County Interim Finance Authority), Nassau’s state-created fiscal watchdog, soon thereafter requested a replacement for from Mangano’s administration. In addition, Mangano’s team has identified $16 million and $12.7 million at risk in relation to budgeted cigarette tax and slumping sales tax revenues, respectively. That creates an estimated $50 million budget shortfall.
Mangano told those in attendance that it was now time to create smaller government, slashing patronage and wasteful spending by “cutting the managerial size of Nassau County.”
“This is the best structural reform for our taxpayer,” he said.
Of the 47 county departments to trim, explained Mangano, his administration was “about half way through” and started within his own department, to lead by example.
The Mangano Plan will help combat Nassau County’s long-term deficit, he noted. It will cut $22 million from the county payroll, including about $10 million less in managerial and support patronage positions, among other measures, he said. The county executive also identified $28.7 million in budget risks he said was left behind by the Suozzi administration in its 2010 budget, including “unrealistic” projections of cigarette and sales tax revenues.
“We can not look to the tax payer for additional dollars in this environment,” said Mangano, “We need to right-size government.”
The elimination of the positions will result in fewer taxpayers’ dollars being spent, he noted. As an example of the potential savings, Mangano spoke of the modifications to the Assessment Review Commission, where three managerial positions have been cut down to one. Each person had been earning $149,000 in salary per year. In addition to two eliminations, however, the remaining position’s salary was lowered to $100,000.
Mangano estimates more than 350 positions will be slashed or eliminated by year-end, but emphasized the main concern was dollar amount, not headcount.
“The Mangano Administration is leaner and more efficient,” he said. “Instead of top-heavy departments, we have professionals working harder and more efficiently.”
“Lay-offs have not been our approach,” he added.