Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, who is running as a Democrat for county executive, announced on Wednesday his plans to put a stop to corruption in county government.
“The root causes of corruption are always money, career politicians and the almost absolute control of the elections process by the party bosses through the Board of Elections,” said Maragos, adding — likely in a swipe at his primary opponent, Baldwin Legislator Laura Curran, who has the endorsement of the Nassau County Democrats — “The Band-Aids proposed by hand-picked candidates to the insidious problem of corruption are a diversion to appease voters and will never end the pay-to-play corruption culture.”
Maragos laid out a six-point plan, including banning all county vendors’ political contributions, nominating an independent procurement director and independent inspector general, naming independent Board of Election commissioners, enacting term limits and public financing of elections.
Of his plan to keep vendors, their companies and family members from making political contributions, Maragos said, “It’s obvious, it’s simple and constitutional!”
Maragos added that his planned changes at the Board of Elections would guarantee impartial elections and “eliminate the patronage.”
“The BOE is currently controlled by the Republican and Democratic party chairmen,” he said. “All employees are patronage, hand-picked by the party bosses and serve at their pleasure.”
According to Maragos, his changes at the BOE would eliminate duplicate positions and save more than $7 million annually, which he would put toward public campaign financing.
“It is time to root out the corruption in Nassau County with a strong, comprehensive plan,” he said.
Maragos is a former Republican, who has run for State Senate on two occasions, and announced his switch to the Democratic Party late last year. On the campaign trail, he has attacked Curran as a puppet of the “party bosses,” while painting himself as the independent candidate. Meanwhile Curran, who has her own anti-corruption agenda, has gone after past statements by Maragos that she says do not align with the values of the Democratic Party.
In response to Maragos's announcement, Philip Shulman, director of communications for Curran's campaign, said,
"Where were George Maragos's anti-corruption proposals when he ran for office twice as Ed Mangano's running mate?"
The state and county primary elections will be held on Sept. 12. The general election is Nov. 7.