The following is a look back at some of the top stories in Nassau County over the past week:
Nassau GOP, Dems at Odds Over County Lawsuit Against NIFA
With a Nassau County after it took control of the county's finances, Republican and Democratic lawmakers have found themselves in disagreement over whether the lawsuit, filed by County Executive Ed Mangano last month, is the right move for the county.
Mangano, a Republican, has maintained that his 2011 budget is balanced and therefore it was unnecessary—and illegal—for NIFA to step in, hence the lawsuit.
"This lawsuit is aimed at preventing NIFA’s unfounded and unfair takeover of our county’s finances," he said. "This action is essential to protect homeowners and employers from higher property taxes."
The Democrats, on the other hand, maintain that a lengthy litigation process— one in which they do not expect a favorable outcome—would just cost Nassau taxpayers more money and threaten the credit rating of the county.
Democratic Minority Leader Diane Yatauro, D-Glen Cove, is urging the Mangano administration to work with NIFA to help weather the economic crisis facing the county.
"The Mangano-Schmitt lawsuit is a waste of time and precious tax dollars," Yatauro said. "Mr. Mangano must cease this destructive litigation immediately."
of county finances on Jan. 24.
County to Close Section of Nassau Crime Lab
After the second incident in three months in the drug chemistry section of the Nassau County crime lab, Mangano and District Attorney Kathleen Rice ordered the immediate closing of the section.
“These recent developments make it impossible for our prosecutors to offer narcotics evidence to the court with the fairness and integrity that I believe are required of us," Rice said. "Any continuation of this practice could compromise the fair administration of justice in our county and require costly remediation in the near future.”
According to the DA's office, crime lab officials produced "inaccurate test results" in six cases involving the drugs MDMA and Ketamine. Last December, a state audit on the crime lab founded several violations related to procedure and policy, prompting plans for a new lab and the crime lab's placement on probation.
Mangano said he authorized the hiring of an independent testing agency and staff. Police that worked in the drug chemistry section of the crime lab are being reassigned to police precincts.
Nassau Police, Community Mourn Death of Officer Michael Califano
Thousands gathered in Seaford on Thursday to , killed in the line of duty during a routine traffic stop on the Long Island Expressway Feb. 4.
“This brave man gave his life for the strength of our community,” said William Murphy, the bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, at Califano's funeral at the Maria Regina Roman Catholic Church in Seaford.
Califano was making a traffic stop at about 10:55 p.m. on Feb. 4 when a flatbed truck, traveling westbound on the LIE near Exit 39 (Old Westbury), struck his police cruiser from behind. Califano was rushed to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow but succumbed to his injuries the next morning.
Police say the driver, John Kaley, of New Britain, Conn., feel asleep at the wheel. The 25-year-old Kaley was charged with criminally negligent homicide and violating a requiring drivers to move over for emergency vehicles.