DiNapoli endorses Schnirman for Nassau County comptroller


State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli endorsed Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman Thursday in his election bid for Nassau County comptroller, citing the city’s financial recovery and his leadership after Hurricane Sandy.

“The residents of Nassau County deserve an independent county watchdog dedicated to safeguarding taxpayer dollars from waste, fraud, and abuse,” DiNapoli, a Democrat, said in a statement. “As Long Beach city manager, Jack Schnirman has proven himself a trustful manager of tax dollars. From improving the city’s finances to rebuilding from Superstorm Sandy, Jack is uniquely qualified to take on the task of county comptroller. I am proud to endorse Jack Schnirman for Nassau County comptroller and encourage Nassau County voters to support him on Election Day.”

Schnirman announced his run for comptroller in January, and received the nod from the Nassau County Democratic Committee and its chairman, Jay Jacobs. He said that he decided to “join the fight for reform” as a candidate for comptroller, in the wake of several corruption scandals involving Long Island elected officials.

“Tom has long served New York state with distinction, protecting taxpayers from waste, fraud, and abuse,” Schnirman said in a statement. “He's been the model of what a comptroller should be, and it's an absolute honor to have his support in our fight for fiscal reform in Nassau County.”

Schnirman, 39, is running on a ticket with County Legislator Laura Curran, who was also endorsed by county Democrats that month to run for county executive.

Schnirman, who has a degree in international relations from Tufts University and a master’s in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, was appointed Long Beach’s city manager in December 2011, after the Democrats wrested control of City Hall from a Republican-led coalition. In his first year alone, he grappled with a staggering fiscal crisis and Sandy.

He previously served as Brookhaven’s deputy chief supervisor from 2006 to 2008, managing the town’s day-to-day operations under Supervisor Brian Foley in the state’s largest township.

DiNapoli’s announcement came two days after Schnirman floated a proposed $93.5 million budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year, which officials said is within the state’s 1.26 percent tax cap and touted as the administration’s sixth consecutive balanced budget, after Long Beach was on the brink of bankruptcy in 2012. It also follows a $24 million turnaround of the city’s rainy day fund after the administration inherited a $14.7 million deficit, as well as improved credit ratings from Moody’s Investors Service. Combined, the proposed budget would raise taxes and annual water and sewer fees by about $142 for the average homeowner.

DiNapoli’s office currently lists the city’s fiscal stress as “moderate,” which officials have described as a five-year improvement since the city was in dire financial straits and had a fiscal stress score of 95 percent.

If elected, Schnirman has said that he would serve the remainder of his two-year contract with the city, which the City Council voted to renew last year, through the end of this year. Last year marked Schnirman’s third contract with the city, which makes him the longest-tenured city manager in Long Beach since Ed Eaton, who served for 25 years. The latest contract agreement included Schnirman’s current annual salary of $173,871 and up to six months severance if he is terminated early.