Holding county government accountable for its actions

Long Island Herald

I am honored by the great responsibility I have been given to serve as Nassau’s next county executive and to pursue the goals I set out during the campaign — ending the culture of corruption and giving Nassau County a fresh start. I believe we can accomplish them by working together.

With the election behind us, it’s now time to govern, and to bring real results for the people of Nassau. We need to restore trust in government, end the practices that waste taxpayer money and focus on true economic development.

The first step in achieving these goals will be hiring people based on what they know, and not who they know. All of the deputy county executives and department heads I hire will have the knowledge and experience to run their departments efficiently and ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent appropriately. They will be tasked with creating lean departments, with every job being used to serve the public good. Everyone working in government will be here to serve the people, period.

I will not appoint anyone who holds a party position, Democrat or Republican, and everyone who works for me will be prohibited from fundraising on my behalf. Nassau County residents deserve to know that the people in my administration are not here for political reasons — they are here to move the county forward. The days of county government as a jobs program for members of the political class are over.

Another step we will take right away is the creation of a “Doing Business With” list, which will track vendors who do business with the county. They will be severely limited in the amount of money they can contribute to me going forward, and my hope is that we can reach consensus on more such applications. This will erase any perception that vendors receive county contracts for any reason other than the ability to do the best job at the fairest price.

By taking these actions, I am confident we will begin to restore the trust of Nassau County taxpayers that their elected officials are here to serve them.

With the trust of our residents, we will be able to move forward with a real economic vision that keeps young people and families here, attracts new businesses and grows our tax base. It’s no secret that Nassau isn’t living up to its true economic potential. Just look at the Hub, where we have 77 acres of parking lot just waiting to be developed with a mixed-use blend of commercial, retail and housing units. That has to, and will, change.

To truly make Nassau County a destination, we have to create affordable housing along with reliable public transportation. Too many millennials and empty-nesters are leaving Long Island because they can’t afford apartments or single-family homes. It’s time we reverse that trend. It is not only the right thing to do, but will also help attract new businesses when they can be confident that their employees will have an affordable and good quality of life.

To enact these safeguards in our government and turn this economic vision into a reality, I will work closely with people of all political stripes and with the supervisors, mayors and city managers who run our local municipalities. And, of course, I will need the input and buy-in of taxpayers.

That’s why I ask all county residents to hold me, my administration and all other public officials accountable. We must live up to the promises we made to deliver real progress.

I look forward to serving the great people of this county and helping Nassau finally live up to its potential — and I know we can accomplish it all together.

Laura Curran, a former journalist who was once an editor at the Herald Community Newspapers, is the county executive-elect.