Mangano appoints contract czar
Nassau Executive Ed Mangano has hired a "contract czar" to oversee the awarding of all outside contracts in the county.
Joseph LaRussa, of Hauppauge, was named to the new position amid controversy surrounding no-bid contracts that did not need legislative approval. Mangano has issued hundreds of contracts that his critics say have gone to businesses with political connections to the office.
Nassau Democrats criticized the move, saying that they had called for the creation of an independent office to oversee all contracts.
"No disrespect to the gentleman that was hired, but we don't believe that he can be independent if his paycheck is signed by the county executive," says Democratic Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams.
Administration officials defend the hiring, saying LaRussa was chosen in part because the work he will be doing for the county is the same work he's been doing in the private sector.
LaRussa starts his new county job next month. He will earn $120,000 a year in the position.