News 12 examines ‘acting’ commissioners on LI

Posted: Updated:
MINEOLA -

Thomas Krumpter has been acting Nassau police commissioner for years but was in no hurry to get his title changed – and News 12 is taking a look at why.

Krumpter has served in his role for more than three years. By remaining “acting” commissioner, he has been able to earn thousands of dollars more than the county allows for an official hiring. Krumpter’s also not the only one in this type of situation – James Davis has been acting commissioner of Nassau’s Assessment Department for six years.

Municipal law expert Paul Sabatino says the use of acting commissioners to serve for an indefinite period of time is part of a troubling, if not illegal, trend. He argues that in nearly every instance, state law does not allow for the appointment of "acting commissioners." That's why departments have deputies or vice presidents.  As a result, Sabatino says municipalities are subject to legal challenges in response to any decision or ruling made by an “acting commissioner."

“It’s a powerful legal argument, which is what power, what authority did you have, since the title doesn't exist?” says Sabatino.

Property valuation attorney Laureen Harris recently filed suit against Nassau County on behalf of several small business owners who are contesting new penalties imposed by acting Assessment Commissioner Davis.  One of her arguments is that Davis continues to be “acting” assessor.

And what about the issue of transparency and the need for public vetting? Some lawmakers say by appointing acting commissioners, administrations are able to circumvent that process.

“It’s not a transparent government when you are not screening people,” says Legislator Ellen Birnbaum.

Birnbaum points out that while commissioner candidates are subject to legislative approval, acting commissioners operate without that same level of scrutiny. That's why she put forth a bill earlier this year that would limit acting commissioners to six months in office.

“I think we really ought to have somebody who is qualified, is screened, and meets legislative approval,” says Birnbaum.

Krumpter and Nassau County Executive Mangano declined News 12 Long Island’s interview requests. News 12 Long Island also reached out to Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves, who has declined to bring Legislator Birnbaum's bill up for a vote, but has not heard back.

  • PoliticsMore>>

  • Oyster Bay supervisor candidates argue in public

    Oyster Bay supervisor candidates argue in public

    Monday, June 26 2017 10:17 PM EDT2017-06-27 02:17:17 GMT
    A planned news conference in Oyster Bay devolved into a shouting match between the town supervisor and his challenger in November's upcoming election.A planned news conference in Oyster Bay devolved into a shouting match between the town supervisor and his challenger in November's upcoming election.

    A planned news conference in Oyster Bay devolved into a shouting match between the town supervisor and his challenger in November's upcoming election. 

    A planned news conference in Oyster Bay devolved into a shouting match between the town supervisor and his challenger in November's upcoming election. 

  • Trump travel ban partly reinstated; fall court arguments set

    Trump travel ban partly reinstated; fall court arguments set

    Monday, June 26 2017 5:57 PM EDT2017-06-26 21:57:27 GMT

    The Supreme Court is allowing the Trump administration to go forward with a limited version of its ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries, a victory for President Donald Trump in the biggest legal controversy of his young presidency.

    The Supreme Court is allowing the Trump administration to go forward with a limited version of its ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries, a victory for President Donald Trump in the biggest legal controversy of his young presidency.

  • Nassau presiding officer wants DA off Solages probe

    Nassau presiding officer wants DA off Solages probe

    Friday, June 23 2017 10:14 PM EDT2017-06-24 02:14:31 GMT
    Normal Gonsalves, a Republican and the presiding officer, wants a special prosecutor to handle the case.Normal Gonsalves, a Republican and the presiding officer, wants a special prosecutor to handle the case.

    The Nassau County Legislature's presiding officer is asking District Attorney Madeline Singas to recuse herself from the investigation into a legislator's assault charges. 

    The Nassau County Legislature's presiding officer is asking District Attorney Madeline Singas to recuse herself from the investigation into a legislator's assault charges. 

sorry to interrupt
your first 5 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 5 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 5 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login, create an account or subscribe to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."