Leaders of the Nassau County Legislature’s majority are calling for the resignation of their longtime Republican ally, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, seven months after he was arrested on federal corruption charges.
On Monday, the same day that the county executive delivered his seventh State of the County address, Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) sent Mangano a letter urging him to step down. Mangano swiftly rebuffed the calls, just as he did immediately after his arrest—although he still hasn’t said if he’ll run for a third term this fall.
“The perception that you have abused the privileges of your office calls into question your ability to lead Nassau County as you are forced to address the defense of the federal allegations that have been made against you,” Gonsalves wrote, which was also signed by Deputy Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) and Alternate Deputy Presiding Officer Howard Kopel (R-Lawrence).
“Our constituents no longer believe that you are working for their benefit,” the letter said. “What is clear to us is that in order to combat this perception, you must relinquish your role as county executive.”
The charges are related to Mangano’s alleged role in an kickback scheme in which his friend Harendra Singh gave the county executive’s wife, Linda, a no-show job in exchange for lucrative county contracts. Ed, Linda, and former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, who resigned four months ago, all pleaded not guilty. They are due back in court Wednesday for their next pre-trial hearing.
Republican state senators had called for Mangano’s resignation immediately following the arrests.
In a statement Monday, Mangano characterized Gonsalves’ letter as “election season nonsense” and noted that her campaign had failed to report donations to the New York State Board of Elections. As a result, a judge fined her campaign $14,000, Newsday reported.
“I ask that residents see these shenanigans for what they are—a cheap political stunt orchestrated by a politician who, herself, broke the law,” Mangano said. “For the past seven years, I have effectively governed Nassau County and will continue to do so.”
Gonsalves said that Mangano’s response to her letter further proves her point.
“County Executive Mangano’s response underscores what the majority said in our letter seeking his resignation,” she said. “He is distracted from governing and needs to concentrate on clearing his name.”
If Mangano were to resign, the legislature would have to appoint a replacement. A spokesman for Gonsalves said they do not have any candidates in mind, should that occur.