Democrats in the Nassau County Legislature are calling for the resignation of Nassau Sheriff Michael Sposato, who runs the county jail, following a string of scandals at the East Meadow facility.
The lawmakers cited six inmate deaths at Nassau County jail last year, the jail’s outgoing private medical provider recently settling a lawsuit filed by the New York State Attorney General and other issues. But Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, a Republican who had rebuffed calls to resign after pleading not guilty to federal corruption charges last fall, defended Sposato.
“The sheriff must go,” Nassau Legis. Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), the Democratic minority leader of the GOP-controlled county legislature, told reporters Monday during a news conference in Mineola. “We are demanding that the county executive call for his resignation.”
Sposato is a former jail cook who was named acting sheriff in 2008 by then-Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, a Democrat who was elected to Congress in November. Mangano kept Sposato in the post, which is an appointed position, unlike in neighboring Suffolk County, where the sheriff is elected.
“With an election season gearing up and the need for campaign contributions on the horizon, today’s press conference is a cheap political stunt by Democrats to intimidate the Sheriff’s Department into doling out overtime to the union, reversing the tens of millions in savings I achieved,” Sposato said in a statement. “I have never allowed inmates to run the asylum and it surely won’t start today.”
Mangano echoed the sentiment in a statement.
“Michael Sposato has effectively led the Sheriff’s Department by cutting millions in wasteful overtime and it’s no surprise a proven cost-cutter would be a target of attacks instigated by union bosses,” he said.
In September, the county hired a medical monitoring agency to ensure a seamless transition between Armor Correctional Health Medical Services, which the state fined $350,000 for failing to properly treat Nassau jail inmates, and a new company that the county plans to hire.