Nassau County Executive Curran Bars Staff From Political Appointments

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County Executive Laura Curran signs the order in Mineola. (Photos by Steve Mosco)

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran hit the ground running in her first month in office last week when she signed an executive order barring appointed members of her administration from holding a leadership position in a political party or donating to her campaign—the first county executive in New York State to take such a measure.

“This is a major step toward full transparency in Nassau County government and enacting true campaign finance reform on a local level,” said Curran in the legislative building’s ceremonial chamber on Jan. 17, where she was joined by deputy county executives. “I ran on a promise of addressing corruption and this order begins to fulfill that promise.”

Curran’s order prohibits her executive staff, including the heads of her departments, along with commissioners and deputies, from authoritative roles in political parties and from donating directly to her campaign committee. Though a first time for the executive office, the action is commonplace among district attorneys.

“County Executive Curran deserves credit for swiftly advancing ethics and integrity proposals addressing local needs in Nassau County,” said Stephan Acquario, executive director of the New York Association of Counties. “We believe that Nassau is the first county to implement all of these specific actions in one compendium of measures.”

The official order, signed by Curran with her deputies looking on, strictly prohibits “…the holding of any office or position of authority within any political party or committee of any political party, other than being a committeeperson, or of any office or position of authority within any committee on behalf of any candidate for elected office by any member of the county executive staff, any deputy county executive, any county executive appointed commissioner or any other county executive appointed head of any county executive department or agency or any deputy commissioner or any other deputy head or any county executive department or agency.”

The order further states, “…that the making of any contribution of any sum of money to any committee on behalf of my candidacy for any elected office by any member of the county executive staff, deputy county executive, any county executive appointed commissioner or any other county executive appointed head of any county executive department or agency or any deputy commissioner or any other deputy head or any county executive department or agency is prohibited.”

Curran, a Democrat, took office earlier this month after defeating Senator Jack Martins following the indictment of former County Executive Ed Mangano on federal corruption charges. The former legislator said the decision to bar her administration from certain privileges came as a direct result of her role as a public servant.

“We will undo the culture that has allowed corruption to take root in the halls of government,” said Curran. “We do the work of the people and nothing should keep us from fulfilling the promises we have all made as public servants.”

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