Schnirman will not seek re-election for comptroller in November

Robert Pelaez
Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman announced he will not be seeking re-election this November. (Photo courtesy of the comptroller's office)

Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnriman announced he will not seek re-election this coming November on Thursday.

Before being elected comptroller in 2017, Schnirman served as the Long Beach city manager for six years beginning in 2011. Schnirman said he will remain committed to serving the county until his tenure as comptroller has ended and cited leaving politics to other people as a reason not to run for re-election.

“In looking ahead toward November, I had to make a choice, and ultimately it was a clear one: I will stay focused on the work that I enjoy and that our County needs to meet this moment and leave the politics to others,” Schnirman said in a statement.

Schnirman touted the work that his office was able to do over the past four years, including the implementation of the Open Nassau Transparency Portal, which allows residents to view county expenditures, budgets, payroll, and other governmental aspects.  Schnirman’s office also recently released a three-year progress update, which showed that the comptroller’s office recovered more than $149 million for county taxpayers.

Schnirman also lauded his office’s work in reforming the county contract system, and involving the general public more to inform the work that the office conducts on a daily basis.

“It is no secret that I love focusing on this work, because even though it is nerdy, finding more efficient ways to deliver critical services, supporting our economic recovery, and closing our equity gaps makes a difference for our communities’ families,” Schnirman said.

New York State and Nassau County Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs told Newsday that Schnirman had been mulling over the move to not run for re-election “for a while”.

“I fully understand his decision. I think he’s done a great job as comptroller, certainly has a record to be proud of as comptroller,” Jacobs told Newsday. “I wish him well and I look forward to working with him again. I don’t think his political career is at an end. I think he will be back in some capacity, and I look forward to that in the future.”

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran touted Schnirman’s modernization efforts for the comptroller’s office to Newsday.

“Jack spearheaded initiatives that modernized the office of comptroller,” Curran told Newsday.

Though Schnirman’s fellow Democratic allies touted his work, Presiding Officer Rich Nicollelo (R-New Hyde Park) told Newsday that the county deserved a more observant presence to fill the role of the comptroller. Nicolello told Newsday Schnirman was “compromised since the moment he got here, and what Nassau really needs is someone who can be a true watchdog, which he isn’t.”

Efforts to reach elected officials for further comment were unavailing.

Although Schnirman produced efforts to bring more of the government actions to the public, his tenure as comptroller included some blemishes.

A 2019 draft audit conducted by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli showed Schnirman was one of 10 former and current Long Beach employees who received a total of more than $500,000 in excessive separation payments.

Schnirman’s overpayments were a combination of accrued sick and vacation days that exceeded the amount allowed under city codes, resulting in his getting total payments of $108,000. Schnirman ultimately returned all of the overpayments he received.

A report from Nassau County Inspector General Jodi Franzese revealed that the county lost more than $700,000, before recovering it, in a 2019 vendor fraud incident targeting Schnirman’s office. Franzese’s findings, published in a 65-page document dated Nov. 19, showed that the online user posing as a county vendor had sought 11 payments totaling $2,095,813.92.  

Franzese said that a bank the county used froze the scammer’s account after more than $710,000 was sent.  This prevented the outstanding $1.3 million from transferring to the scammer, despite the comptroller’s office already approving the transaction, she said.

Brett Spielberg, a spokesman for the comptroller’s office, said the legislative majority politicized the incident despite Franzese finding “nothing new” in her investigation.

“The Republican Legislative Majority is here to score political points in an attempt to politicize an attack on our County,” he said. “The Inspector General review found nothing new that the Comptroller’s Office didn’t already transparently put forward almost a year ago.”

Schnirman did not disclose what his future plans would be in the statement but expressed his gratitude to Nassau residents for the past three-plus years of support they have shown.

“I look forward to continuing our relationship as I move into the next phase of my career,” Schnirman said. “There is so much more for us to do together in the months and years to come.”

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