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An Inside Look: The Heated Nassau Police Precinct Debate

Making The Case: Nassau County acting police commissioner Thomas Dale presents County Executive Ed Mangano's precinct plan to members of the legislature's public safety committee and the public Feb. 13. (Jon Sasala/Long Island Press)

“It is a disgrace,” blasts Denenberg when informed by the Press of the raises and new salaries. “It is something that should outrage not only the public and not only the officers on the street, but the police brass themselves. Why do you need to spend more on administration when by your own actions there is less to administrate? And if you’re asking the unions to come forward and give, you need to provide an example across the board.”

The pay increases for the top brass could “have given us three more cops on the street,” he continues. “I think the public would rather have three more cops on the street.”


Gary Learned, president of the Nassau County Superior Officers Association, the union that represents sergeants through assistant chiefs, echoes the sentiment.

“I don’t see the need to bring in a commissioner from NYC at this time when we have enough talented people here,” he says. “They could have slid one of these higher-ranking people into the commissioner spot, and it wouldn’t have cost them anything. Now they bring in Dale, Quinn and Hart, and we could have saved their three salaries combined.

“Now, obviously in order to make up for their salaries so that they can claim they are going to save this 19 million a year, some of my members might have to give up their job just so that they can afford these three guys, and I think it is unnecessary,” he continues.

Nassau Legislature Minority Leader Legis. Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead), who was also unaware of the hefty pay hikes and new salaried positions until informed by the Press, found them equally disturbing.

“I believe it is a little irresponsible, and to that magnitude, at the same time when we are asking sworn officers to possibly give back a portion of their salary,” he says. “I don’t see how you can set a strong example especially coming from the commissioner’s position to the sworn officers, the rank and file, when you are asking for a give back but you are doing the total opposite.”

There are also indications that the precinct closure plan may not save as much as Mangano hopes, even if it’s approved by the full county legislature.

According to a Feb. 10 inter-departmental memo regarding the re-alignments, which was sent from the county’s independent Office of Legislative Budget Review (OLBR) to all Nassau legislators as well as Dale and Krumpter, among others:

“Our analysis indicates that many variables will need to fall into place in order for the plan to achieve the desired annual salary and fringe benefits savings of $19.2 million,” the report reads. “However, the full savings of $19.2 million will not be realized in 2012 due to the timing of the plan’s implementations and the associated debt service cost. Since the savings are recurring, they will also need to be offset by the debt service cost over the next 10 years. If any of the variables fail to occur, the savings plan is at risk.”

The total potential savings attainable this year, concludes the financial analysis, is $12.2 million.

Perhaps more important than the money question among critics of Mangano’s plan, however, are concerns about its potential impact on crime. Minority Leader Abrahams tells the Press that if Mangano’s assessment on that subject is anything like his handling of the finances, the county is in big trouble.

“We were against the proposal when it was closing two precincts in the later part of last year, and the fact that we are closing four precincts, we just truly believe that it is making us more vulnerable to criminals and violators of the law to a larger degree,” he says. “At the end of the day, the county executive has not demonstrated any credibility in the finances of the county.”

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