Nassau County Legislator Laura Curran (D-Baldwin) on Thursday pledged to tap women for half the senior roles in her administration if elected county executive.
Under Curran, she said, women would hold 50 percent of the county’s 21 top jobs: commissioners, deputy county executives, and the county attorney, sheriff, assessor and treasurer.
The plan would make Curran’s administration more representative of Nassau’s demographics than the “good old boys’ club” of current Republican county executive, Edward Mangano, who has women in only four of those roles, Curran said.
“We’re not going to look to the cronies and the brother-in-laws, to the friends,” Curran said at a news conference at her Baldwin home. “We’re going to really try to get the most professional people that we can to run the government.”
Curran is the first woman ever to run for county executive. She has backing from Nassau’s Democratic committee but faces a primary against state Assemblyman Charles Lavine and county Comptroller George Maragos.
Mangano, who has pleaded not guilty to political corruption charges, has not said whether he will seek a third term, and Republicans have not yet nominated a candidate to run for his job.
Curran, who has repeatedly attacked what she calls a “culture of corruption” in Nassau government, said political patronage has shut women out of key roles and prevented the county government from serving the public effectively.
But county officials rejected the claim that Nassau’s government is so heavily male.
The county has 42 department heads, but some have titles of director or executive director rather than commissioner, Brian Nevin, Mangano’s spokesman, wrote in an email.
Some 40 percent of those roles are filled by women and ethnic minorities, making Mangano’s administration “the most diverse in Nassau’s history,” said Connie Petrucci, the county executive’s press secretary.
“Nassau County’s hiring policies do not discriminate on race nor creed and Laura Curran’s plan to hire based solely on gender appears to violate County policy,” Petrucci said in a statement.
Curran said she would consider the highest quality men and women for top jobs while ensuring women have “an equal shot to men, and that’s just not happening right now.”