Election season is heating up.
A familiar face in North Hempstead politics announced his run for Nassau County Comptroller Thursday. Nassau Legis. Wayne Wink, D-Roslyn, will challenge Republican George Maragos for the post of fiscal watchdog for the county.
Wink, 46, a former North Hempstead councilman who holds a law degree from St. John’s, is the ranking member of the Finance and the Government Services committees. He also serves on the Budget Review Committee.
“Nassau County’s financial house is broken, and I am running to fix it,” Wink said.
North Hempstead Supervisor Kaiman sees the Dem field shaping up nicely. “Wayne Wink and [former Comptroller] Howard Weitzman are both talking about it,” Kaiman said. “They are both extremely smart and talented public servants. They both have great skill sets for the job. We’ll see what happens. Either one would be a tremendous asset.”
Weitzman, a two-term comptroller under Tom Suozzi, is the former mayor of Great Neck Estates.
As for his own political prospects, Kaiman said an announcement on whether he’ll run for County Executive will come in the near future.
North Hempstead Adds to Records Database
The state’s push for more open government to coincide with Sunshine Week focuses on a central database culling data from state, county, city, town and village governments.
“We have this huge resource, which is our TownStat, which documents so much of what we do,” Kaiman said. “We thought it would be interesting to not only share our budget information but our TownStat.”
Some of the searchable data would include: How many permits the Town issues to how many lights get replaced.
Kaiman said he expects the IT team to migrate Town records to open.ny.gov by end of April, taking info from the Town’s internal management tool and making it a front-facing data set.
While Nassau and Suffolk counties and villages such as Massapequa Park will participate in open.ny.gov, the nearby towns of Oyster Bay and Hempstead have not yet agreed to join.
“With the launch of open.ny.gov, New York State has taken another step toward greater transparency in government,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “In addition to reducing costs and housing data for localities, this website helps connect government on all levels with the people it serves. I’m pleased to announce 64 additional local governments have pledged to participate in open.ny.gov, and I encourage others to join us in making government more accessible to all New Yorkers.”
Comptroller, Town Clash Over Audit
Where does perception and reality clash regularly?
The latest example is the Town’s Clinton G. Martin Park District, where on one side Maragos, the county comptroller, has publicly taken the Town to task for delaying his right to audit New Hyde Park’s special park district.
The Town has filed a second appeal to the state Court of Appeals after the state Appellate Division denied an appeal in February seeking to stop an audit.
Maragos responded sharply: "It is now apparent that the Town of North Hempstead intends to conceal its financial records from the public scrutiny,” Maragos said. "The residents of this District and the Town deserve answers to the numerous questions relating to how their tax dollars are being utilized in this District and possibly the Town itself. Instead of transparency, the Town is continuing to waste money on litigation and preventing public records from being disclosed."
How did the Town answer this challenge? Spokesman Collin Nash released a recent letter from the Government Finance Officers Association, which awarded North Hempstead with the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.