UNIONDALE - County Executive Ed Mangano (R-Nassau) has hired nearly 150 full- and part-time workers despite a hiring freeze that he himself put into effect in December.

In addition to the hiring freeze, the county executive also promised to lay off more than 200 county workers as part of his plan to meet the demands of NIFA, the state watchdog agency that took control of the county's finances after discovering a hole in the 2011 budget.

Mangano insists the only jobs he is filling now are essential positions, even though the recent hires include two special assistants with salaries of $70,000 a year.

"I don't know which part of hiring freeze the administration doesn't understand," says Legislator Wayne Wink (D-Roslyn).

The county executive also says Nassau has 800 fewer positions than under his predecessor, Tom Suozzi, which he says has saved Nassau millions of dollars.