Nassau Executive Elect Bruce Blakeman appoints OTB Attorney General

Nassau County Executive-elect Bruce Blakeman on Wednesday appointed his deputy, Arthur Walsh, attorney general for Nassau Regional Off Track Betting Corp. and senior lieutenant for Joseph Cairo Jr., the agency’s president and Nassau’s Republican president.

Also on Wednesday, Blakeman promised to talk to leaders of Nassau’s police and civil servants’ associations, whose members worked under contracts that expired in 2017.

“I expect that as part of my transition, we will start talking to them right away and get to grips with some of the issues that the unions have, and of course look at it from the county’s point of view,” Blakeman said.

Blakeman announced priorities for his administration and the selection of his deputy vice president during a press conference in Mineola, where he was flanked by Republican county lawmakers.

A day earlier, Curran admitted in the race after completing a complete count of absentees, declarations and emergency votes.

In all, Curran lost by 2,150 votes, according to the election committee.

Walsh serves as Advocate General for Nassau OTB, a quasi-state agency in which Cairo is president in addition to his role as party chairman.

Walsh earns $ 180,000 annually in the OTB role and is also the unpaid vice president of Nassau’s Republican Party and a Floral Park GOP committee member.

Mike Deery, a spokesman for the Republican Committee in Nassau, did not immediately say whether Walsh planned to resign from the party leadership role.

In January 2018, Curran signed a decree preventing top officials from holding an “authority position within any political party …”

Blakeman also asked personal injury lawyer Christopher McGrath, a former Republican state senate candidate and deputy chairman of Nassau’s Republican committee, to serve as chairman of his transition team.

Blakeman announced a website, servenassau.com, to apply for CVs for jobs in the new administration.

“We should all be united, I think we are united, on issues that protect taxpayers and their wallets, grow our economy, keep Nassau safe, create jobs and protect parental rights and more,” he said.

As for rising COVID-19 cases and Governor Kathy Hochul’s warning this week that health protocols could be expanded, Blakeman said he would postpone to Curran until further notice.

“We are monitoring the situation very closely. I have the utmost respect for the county director,” he said, “and she will be county chief until January 1, so I will postpone all questions to her.”

When Blakeman was asked to elaborate on the topic of “parental rights”, Blakeman pointed to his opposition during the campaign with mask mandates for children in schools. He said school districts “should determine the policies of their own schools.”

He said, “the government should not interfere in the parents with regard to any of the rights concerning their children. And I think the government can be very harsh at times. I am a strong supporter of the Constitution, individual rights and I believe it’s something I want to tackle in January and I’ll be pretty vocal about it. “

He said he would decide in the next two weeks whether to keep Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder in the job.

“I consult with people who advise me from my transition team on law enforcement and security issues …” Blakeman said.

Walsh will contact Curran’s deputy director for the county, Helena Williams, Blakeman said, adding that he thought the transition would begin on December 1 or 2.

He said he expects to have some Democrats in his administration, but applicants should be “philosophically in line with my agenda.”

“I do not expect it to be one-party staffing,” he said. “I believe my transition team will have a significant number of Democrats on the team.”

He added, “Everyone who comes to work for my administration must be on the same page as my agenda.”

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