Written by Ronald Scaglia, Rscaglia@antonnews.com Friday, 22 March 2013 00:00
“The comptroller is there to protect the taxpayers.”
That is what former Nassau Comptroller Howard Weitzman says is the job of a comptroller. It’s something he says he did during his eight years in the position, and it’s something that he wants to do again. Weitzman was elected to the position in 2001 and 2005 before being narrowly defeated by current Nassau County George Maragos in 2009.
Weitzman blames his defeat on a rare illness he contracted in 2009, which he says prevented him from running a full campaign. He says that despite his limited campaigning he was still only defeated by a narrow margin – 800 votes.
Now that he’s feeling better, and he says his doctors have encouraged him to seek office, he is trying to reclaim the position. However, before he gets a chance to have a rematch with Maragos, he first has to win his party’s nomination. Democratic Nassau County Legislator Wayne Wink has recently announced that he is also running for comptroller.
Weitzman is a CPA and served as mayor of Great Neck Estates. He lived in Massapequa for six years and his first two children were born in the old New Island Hospital in Bethpage. He expects strong support from Massapequa and Farmingdale,
“They will know that the taxpayer has a voice looking out for them,” Weitzman said when asked why residents of southeast Nassau would vote for him.
The former comptroller and current candidate also praised the current downtown revitalization project underway in Farmingdale. He said that although Nassau County was one of the first suburban counties in the country, America is changing and changes needs to come with it. He thinks building up downtown areas near railroad stations, which is being done in Farmingdale, is what is needed to revitalize the county.
“We have to offer alternatives, and you build them around railroad stations,” he said. “I give them a lot if credit.” He also added that there should be multiple family dwellings and beautiful single-family homes near stations to accomplish this, and he hopes this vision will be brought to other locations in Nassau as well. In fact, he even said that although he has an issue with Nassau County Executive Executive Edward P. Mangano’s administration on bonding, he would be okay with borrowing if it used to build up downtown areas.
“You rarely see a comptroller say that construction borrowing is bad borrowing,” he commented.
Weitzman also said that he role of the comptroller is to review contracts and accounts payable accounts, conduct audits, and oversee payroll and benefits, He says he did that efficiently when he had the job, saying that the county’s finances were in shambles when he took office in 2001 and by auditing the police, the jails and Social Security, savings of at least $10 million were found. He also remarked that he found waste, fraud and abuse in special districts and that the county saved $5 to $6 million per year eliminating duplicating health coverage for married Nassau employees.
Weitzman also criticized Maragos and current Mangano. He blasted Mangano’s handling of county finances, saying that there has been two bond downgrades and there is no financial plan. He also took issue with the wage freeze imposed by Mangano, which was overturned in court as well as the decision to pass tax certiorari refunds onto school districts, which was also overturned in court. Weitzman said that Maragos had a responsibility to hold Mangano accountable for these policies as well as Mangano’s reliance on bonding to pass budgets, but failed to do so.
“The comptroller’s office has reverted back to the past and Maragos is a puppet for the administration,” Weitzman charged.
Weitzman said if given his old job back he would work towards making Nassau County more competitive with other suburban counties. He said that Westchester doesn’t have the beaches, universities and hospitals that Nassau has, and that young professionals would be attracted to living here if the county’s finances are in order and young people could afford to live here. He added that he stands by his performance and says that will motivate voters to give him the nod against both Wink and Maragos. “They can see what my record was,” he said. “The most important thing is not what they say but what they do,” he said of elected officials.
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00
Visitors to the concession stand at Triangle Park might notice a difference in the snack’s shack’s name, as it was recently rededicated to honor longtime Hicksville American Soccer Club (HASC) Vice President Joe Visconti.
The building rededication came as a surprise to the Hicksville resident, who found out about the renaming when he arrived at Triangle Park to find his friends, family and local legislatures gathered around a new sign on the concession stand that read “Joe Visconti Snack Shack.”
“I was very touched. It was amazing that they did that for me,” said Visconti.
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 00:00
Hicksville residents, business owners, and stakeholders came out to a Northwest Hicksville Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) open house last week where they learned more about proposed revitalization and provided feedback on the draft pre-nomination study.
The Northwest BOA is bounded by the Northern State Parkway to the north, Old Country Road to the south, Cantiague Lane to the west and 106/107 to the east. The area includes major Hicksville landmarks including the Broadway Mall, train station, post office, Cantiague Park, Burns Avenue School, several businesses and manufacturers, and numerous residential homes. Several of the properties in the corridor lie vacant or underused, which identifies the area as eligible for the BOA program, which is meant to provide communities with money, land use and redevelopment tools for revitalization.
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00
Hicksville’s Jill Loveland, 28, scored as the second finisher among the women in the 25-29 age group in the 21st annual New York Blood Services Rob’s Run, a 5 Kilometer cross country race held through Stillwell Woods in Woodbury on Sunday morning, Dec. 1. Loveland finished the run in 22 minutes, 29 seconds.The weather for this year’s run was nearly perfect for a late Fall cross country race, and the net result was a bunch of pretty impressive performances — and lots of enthusiasm — on the part of the 534 finishers. The run was staged by the Greater Long Island Running Club in cooperation with the Town of Oyster Bay.
“We were thrilled to see Jill Loveland do so well in this event,” observed Run Co-Director Sue Fitzpatrick. She is a great competitor and a valued member of the club."
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
As they come off their most successful season in 30 years, the Hicksville Boys basketball team faces a challenge in replicating last year's success. The 2012-13 season saw the Comets compile a 15-5 record and had their season ending in the Nassau County semifinals to rival Baldwin. According to Head Coach Phil Essigman, who is entering his 14th season with the varsity team, the team will feature only two returning players from last season. Last year’s team was incredibly deep and experienced and it is part of the “rollercoaster”, as he described it, of high school sports for teams to go through periods of grooming inexperienced players.