MINEOLA, NY – Nassau County Executive Laura Curran today introduced a bill to the County Legislature amending the County Charter to require the Board of Ethics to publicly post online the financial disclosure forms of all County elected officials. The proposed bill is the latest in a series of reforms enacted and advocated for by the County Executive to increase transparency and trust in County government.
The goal of this specific legislation is to provide transparency regarding real or potential conflicts of interest, self-dealing, or influence from special business interests. The ethics and financial disclosure forms include details about personal and family-related financial interests, income, employment, trusts, interest in contracts, investments, gifts, third-party reimbursements, debts, and political party involvement. The bill would apply to the County Executive, District Attorney, Comptroller, Clerk, and all 19 members of the County Legislature.
“I ran for County Executive to end the culture of corruption that bankrupted our County and restore trust and integrity to our government,” said County Executive Curran. “In the past, we often had politicians enter public service to do well for themselves, instead of to do good for the people they represent. That’s why my Administration has implemented an aggressive agenda to root out corruption and strengthen ethics rules in County government. With the introduction of this bill, we have a historic opportunity to bring about a new era for Nassau.”
“Nassau County residents deserve full transparency from their elected representatives, and the heightened level of disclosure required under County Executive Curran's proposal adds another important layer of accountability,” Minority Leader Kevan M. Abrahams (D - Freeport) said. “We are proud to support this important reform and applaud the County Executive for leading by example.”
Under Nassau County Administrative Code, elected officials and employees in certain titles or in positions to make or influence policy for the county have been required to submit an annual disclosure form to the Board of Ethics. These submissions are intended to prevent conflicts of interest and abuse of power on the part of county officials; however, because these disclosures have historically been submitted on paper, their efficacy as an anti-corruption tool was hindered.
The new change would bring Nassau County into line with State and New York City standards, and ahead of many its municipal peers across the state. The proposed disclosure legislation is part of a multi-faceted anti-corruption agenda advanced by County Executive Curran, including the following key initiatives:
- Removing an anti-competitive fee for businesses seeking to do business with Nassau. Since the fee removal went into effect on 1/1/2019, the number of vendors registered has risen by over 200%
- Launching a first-of-its-kind partnership with a leading risk and compliance firm to streamline due diligence research on vendors. At no cost to taxpayers, Nassau is the first municipality in the nation to utilize artificial intelligence technology to vet its vendors.
- Appointing Nassau County’s very first Chief Procurement Officer & Department Chief Contracting Officers
- Implementing regular trainings for all Department Chief Contracting Officers