MINEOLA - A plan by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano (R-Nassau) to hire several private firms is drawing a torrent of criticism from Democratic county lawmakers.

Nassau Legislator Diane Yatauro (D-Glen Cove) and her Democratic colleagues say the new lawyers, which would cost the deficit-riddled county $1 million, would be doing work that staff attorneys should be able to do or were already doing.

One law firm that would be hired by the county, Rivkin-Radler, is the GOP county executive's former employer, lawmakers say.

Political analyst Larry Levy says while he can't determine whether these particular hirings are warranted, getting outside legal help is common.

"There are times when hiring outside counsel could save you money - even if they're politically connected - and some times when they don't," Levy says.