Thomas Gulotta, a former Republican lawmaker who served as Nassau County executive from 1987 through 2001, presiding over the creation of the Nassau County Legislature, died on August 4. He was 75.
The former Town of Hempstead supervisor and ex-New York State Assemblyman from North Merrick was elected to Nassau’s top job when the county was controlled by what was known as the Board of Supervisors. He was the first county exec to have to work with the 19 members of the Nassau legislature when that body was formed in 1996. He declined to seek re-election to a fifth term following a financial crisis that resulted in a state bailout and the creation of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority.
“He was one of the brightest and most gifted elected officials I have met in my years in county government,” said Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park). “He was a hard-working public servant and was counted as a friend by residents in every corner of the county. Tom Gulotta served with distinction and dignity and will be missed.”
Gulotta’s legacy includes the creation of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County in Glen Cove, Nassau County Aquatic Center in East Meadow, and the Cradle of Aviation Museum, which is the anchor of Museum Row in Garden City. After he left political life, he worked for the law firm of Albanese & Albanese, LLP. He was succeeded by Tom Suozzi, who is now a congressman.
“Tom was a dedicated husband, father, and public servant,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, a Democrat. “In his career in government that spanned over four decades, Tom served our residents with distinction. In recent years, I was lucky enough to become good friends with both Tom and his wife, Betsy. My heart goes out to Betsy and the whole Gulotta family for their loss.”
He is survived by his wife Elizabeth, brother Frank, son Christopher, and daughter Elizabeth. He was buried at Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury.