MINEOLA - Critics are blasting some high-pay hirings within the Nassau Police Department that come at a time when the county is looking to downgrade half of its precincts to save money. The department has added two new assistant commissioners to its payroll, each with a salary of $150,000 per year. Police union officials say it's hard to swallow when the county is considering a plan to downgrade four of its eight police precincts to save $20 million. The plan, proposed by County Executive Ed Mangano (R-Nassau), would eliminate about 100 administrative jobs, but critics say it would jeopardize public safety. Mangano is defending the hirings, arguing that newly appointed Police Commissioner Thomas Dale needs expert help. He says that retired NYPD Lt. John Quinn and Robert Hart, the former head of the FBI's Long Island office, are the right fit. Police union officials are decrying the move, calling it the "height of hypocrisy."Nassau committees OK police precinct overhaulSome Nassau residents concerned over police precinct planMangano plans police revamp in Nassau County