MINEOLA - Jon Kaiman ran his final Nassau Interim Finance Authority meeting Wednesday before officially resigning to run for Congress.
Kaiman announced earlier this month that he would resign his unpaid post with NIFA as he prepares to launch a run at the congressional seat currently held by retiring Democrat Steve Israel. Newsday Columnist Joye Brown says Kaiman brought a different perspective to the fiscal control board, for better or for worse.
"Kaiman will tell you that it was advantageous to Nassau County because having someone who had a government background in dealing with County Executive Ed Mangano was a bonus," says Brown.
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Kaiman’s 2 ½ year tenure was eventful. With his support, Nassau was able to come to an agreement with labor unions to end a NIFA-imposed three-year wage freeze on county workers.
The Nassau Comptroller's Office finds that the county's deficit has grown by nearly $130 million during Kaiman's reign.
Kaiman says he believes the board made changes during his time as chairman that will lead to big improvements down the line, including an increased ability to get involved with the county's budgeting plans.
His critics may say that NIFA was supposed to focus just on finances and less on politics.
"In my judgment, it's cause to celebrate and there should be dancing in the streets that he's finally resigning from NIFA," says former NIFA board member George Marlin.
Marlin says Kaiman's political background left him more adept at striking deals with the county and the unions than watching the fiscal bottom line.
"Instead of being a fiscal watchdog, he has been a deficit-enabling, insider, fiscal lapdog," Marlin says.
Mangano was complimentary of Kaiman, saying in a written statement, "Jon Kaiman brought government experience to the NIFA Board and demonstrated a willingness to work in partnership with the Legislature and administration for the benefit of Nassau taxpayers."
The governor's office has not yet said who will replace Kaiman as the head of NIFA.