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Bill could spell fiscal disaster for Nassau
In the closing days of the Albany legislative session, Deputy State Assembly Speaker Earlene Hooper has introduced a bill that would neuter the ability of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority to impose a wage freeze or other cost-cutting measures during fiscal emergencies.
The bill says that even during control periods like the one Nassau County has been in since 2011, control boards would not be allowed to freeze seniority-earned pay hikes in contractual agreements if they have signed off on a municipality’s multiyear budget plan. But the budget signoff only says the blueprint past the actual budget year is complete and properly put together, not that it’s fiscally responsible or even, necessarily, achievable.
The bill is particularly important to the Nassau Police Benevolent Association, whose new cops start off earning $35,000 a year but see their base pay hit $122,000 eight years later. Wage freezes like the one imposed on Nassau in 2011 and lifted three years later are tremendously hard on such officers. With Nassau’s steady hiring of cops over the past three years, hundreds of officers are vulnerable to a freeze, and union leaders who try to fend off one of them get the support of rank and file.
Public-sector unions have long argued that municipalities should have to live up to the contracts they agree to no matter what. NIFA Chairman Adam Barsky is preparing to send a letter to Hooper (D-Hempstead) arguing against the bill, which is also sponsored by Assembs. Anthony D’Urso (D-Port Washington) and Michaelle Solages (D-Elmont).
Barsky told The Point, “This is a power the legislature intended NIFA to have when it created the board, after a home-rule message from the county. It’s a crucial tool for NIFA and it should not be weakened.”
Supporters were shopping the bill around for a State Senate sponsor Tuesday, and there appears to be some real concern it could pass, if only because powerful unions will support it far more aggressively than anyone will fight to keep Nassau County from fiscal disaster.
@SuffolkDA isn’t Spota’s Twitter handle
Suffolk County has a new district attorney . . . sort of.
The election to replace District Attorney Thomas Spota won’t take place until November, and the primary isn’t until September. But that hasn’t stopped Republican candidate Bill Ferris from tweeting actively under the handle @SuffolkDA.
Spota isn’t on Twitter, and the profile doesn’t have a blue check mark, Twitter’s indication that an account has been verified to be the person it claims to be.
The account was created in February, just before Ferris declared his candidacy. But the campaign has started sending tweets much more actively over the past several days.
Many of the messages posted to the account direct users to TheRealRayPerini.com, a website featuring a 1989 report that implicates Ray Perini, Ferris’ opponent for the Republican nomination, in illegal wiretaps and other abuses of power as a prosecutor in the Suffolk district attorney’s office.
Ferris has an uphill battle to gather enough signatures to force a primary against Perini, who is the Republican Party nominee. If he can get on the ballot, Suffolk voters will get to decide whether the @SuffolkDA handle deserves to get its blue check mark.
Christie’s house in the ring
Pugilistic Chris Christie knows how to throw a punch, which might be why he’s OK with a fight party at the governor’s mansion.
The New Jersey governor was doing one of his occasional guest appearances on WFAN radio’s “Boomer and Carton” show Tuesday morning when conversation turned to an upcoming pay-per-view boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.
This major event in the boxing world is tentatively set for Aug. 26 in Las Vegas.
Show co-host Craig Carton suggested a viewing party at Drumthwacket, the stately official residence in Princeton. Christie said he’ll be on vacation with his family, but gave his blessing for the party.
Carton said he wants to bring in catered food and put big-screen TV sets around the pool, perhaps for 100 people.
Christie held the line at 75 and demanded approval of the guest list. “We’re going to have to have a lot of off-air conversation about this,” he said. He warned Carton against getting too rowdy, explaining that the mansion is in a residential neighborhood.
And one that he is moving out by the end of the year.
Lawrence StriegelThis is The Point, the editorial board’s daily newsletter about New York politics. Click here to subscribe.