George Maragos

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George Maragos
CompGeorgeMaragosSept11.JPG
George Maragos attends a wreath laying ceremony on the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.
13th Comptroller of Nassau County
In office
January 2010 – January 2018
Preceded byHoward Weitzman
Succeeded byJack Schnirman
Personal details
Born (1949-03-17) March 17, 1949 (age 70)
Political party
Spouse(s)
Angela Maragos (m. 1973)
Children
  • Peter (b. 1976)
  • Angelo (b. 1985)
ResidenceNassau County, New York
Alma mater

George Maragos (born March 17, 1949) is the 13th Comptroller of Nassau County, New York. He was first elected in 2009 for a four-year term. Maragos was then re-elected in 2013 for a second four-year term.[1]

Education[edit]

Maragos received an M.B.A in Finance in 1983 from Pace University in New York City. As an undergraduate, Maragos studied electrical engineering at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada earning a Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering (B.E.E.E.) in 1973. [2]

Early career[edit]

Maragos started his career at Bell-Northern Research where he became one of the youngest managers in the global technology organization. In 1978, Maragos joined Booz Allen Hamilton in New York to work on U.S. Military Defense Command and Control Systems - requiring security clearances from the U.S. government. Maragos later became an Associate in charge of developing Information Technology solutions for major multi-national commercial clients.[2]

In 1981, Maragos joined Chase Manhattan Bank, leading a team charged with building the organization's international data and money transfer network. He was later promoted to Vice President. In 1986, Maragos joined Citibank as Vice President and Director of North American Treasury and Telecommunications Systems.[2]

In 1989, Maragos founded his own business, SDS Financial Technologies, and served as President and C.E.O. for over 20 years until his election as Nassau County Comptroller in 2009.[2]

Nassau County Comptroller[edit]

Maragos was elected as Nassau County Comptroller in November 2009, and was sworn in January 2010. He was re-elected to a second term beginning in January 2014. The comptroller and his staff oversee the County's budget and financial operations; as of 2017 the annual budget was $2.6 billion.[3] The comptroller's office audits government agencies; reviews all county contracts and claims; and reports on all matters that significantly affect Nassau County's financial health and operations.[3] The office is also in charge of administering the county payroll and employee health benefits, and preparing Nassau County's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.[3] In general, Comptroller Maragos and his staff "work with the administration and legislature to help Nassau County overcome its fiscal challenges".[3]

Police Overtime Report[edit]

Comptroller George Maragos released an audit of the Nassau County Police Department which revealed $96.28 million in higher-than-budgeted overtime costs and $382.27 million in savings from attrition from 2009 to 2014. These figures are compounded on $247.58 million in estimated future savings as a result of the new Collective Bargaining agreement. Maragos gave credit to the Nassau County Police for keeping crime low and protecting Nassau County residents but also proposed that the Nassau County Police Departments' management practices need to be revised so that more resources can be directed to improve public safety. .[4][5][6]

Economic Vision[edit]

Comptroller Maragos released a study in 2014 the changing demographics in Nassau County. The study proposed a new economic vision for Nassau County which, if implemented, claimed would revitalize the economy by drawing on the County's natural advantages to become the Health and Wellness center of the world. Comptroller Maragos proposed that Nassau County should become a place where people would "want to come to receive the best medical treatments and where the next generation of miracle medicines would be discovered." Mr. Maragos urged greater focused investments in innovation, research and development, transportation infrastructure and IT to achieve this economic vision.[7]

Verizon Audit[edit]

At the request of the Nassau County Police Department, the Nassau County Comptrollers office conducted an audit which revealed that Verizon underpaid the county over $466,919, an amount that may increase as investigations continue. From 2001-2014 Verizon implemented an Enhanced 911 system throughout Nassau County during this time Verizon deducted 1-3% beyond the permitted administrative fee from residents' monthly phone bills. The comptroller's office recommended a collaboration with the offices of the Nassau County Police to obtain the total unpaid amount from Verizon while the police department reviews the previous months that Verizon was working with Nassau County on the E911 system to determine whether or not there was even more withheld during that time.[8][9]

Town of Hempstead IDA Audit[edit]

In a letter dated December 4, 2014, the Hempstead Industrial Development Agency ("IDA") proposed a Payment In Lieu Of Taxes ("PILOT") which is described to assist with the purchase of 71.87 acres of land and improvements to the Green Acres Commons (formerly known as the Green Acres Mall) It was not until December 12, 2014 that a cost-benefit analysis for the project was released. The approval of the IDA's PILOT on December 17, 2014, directly contributed to a rise on school property taxes from 4.6% to 12.2% while reducing the taxes paid by the Green Acre Commons by $2.7 million. Comptroller George Maragos' review of the documents concerned the PILOTs' unusually expedited process of approval as well as the PILOTs' 4-page cost-benefit analysis which contained only calculation tables without any explanations. On October 24, 2016, the Nassau County Comptroller's Office commenced a formal audit of the Town of Hempstead IDA regarding the PILOT granted to the Green Acres Mall, now known as the Green Acre Commons.[10][11][12][13]

GEB Living Wage Audit[edit]

Comptroller Maragos conducted and released an audit of a County contract totaling $385,478 in order to monitor the removal of debris caused by Super-storm Sandy. Said contract was performed by Gibbons, Esposito and Boyce ("GEB"), an engineering firm based out of Uniondale, NY. Eight field monitors, who constituted 50% of the employees that were working on the debris removal monitoring project were underpaid. As per the audit, GEB had failed to provide proof that all of its Field Monitors had the proper FEMA protocol training which were minimum requirements stated in the contract. Paid time off was not awarded, which is contrary to Living Wave Law. Various time sheets that GEB submitted to the County for reimbursement did not contain the appropriate signatures for approval. GEB and their legal counsel maintains that they were exempt from the County's Living Wage Law. The auditors disagreed. GEB offered to pay the employees the Living Wave underpayment. The audit will be sent to Nassau's County and District Attorneys for further review.[14][15]

Long Island Bus Study[edit]

Comptroller George Maragos at the Nassau County Legislature testimony on the privatization of In November 2010

Maragos released a study concerning the proposed privatization of Long Island Bus after over 35 years. The report recommended that the best option for Nassau County was to negotiate with the MTA to continue with the current service, with a more equitable subsidy. The MTA should first decrease the LIBS operating expense by about 4%, so that no increase in subsidies is required for 2011 by either the MTA or the County. If an increase is necessary, then both the County and the MTA should proportionately increase their subsidies in order to keep the LIBS running. However, if negotiations fail and Nassau County is forced to contribute the full subsidy demanded by the MTA of over $36 million for 2011, then Comptroller Maragos ultimately recommended that privatization be pursued.[16]

Parking Ticket Audit[edit]

In early 2011, Comptroller Maragos released an audit of the Nassau County Traffic & Parking Violations Agency, which showed that as of December 31, 2010 the Agency had $44 million in uncollected traffic violation fines dating back 10 years and $26 million in uncollected parking violations in the last six years with Red Light Camera past due tickets estimated at over $10 million alone as of December 31, 2011.[17]

Consumer Affairs Audit[edit]

Comptroller George Maragos released an audit of the Nassau County Office of Consumer Affairs ("Consumer Affairs"). The audit, conducted from January 1, 2013 till December 31, 2015 revealed that poor internal controls led to a loss of $2.9 million in County revenue. Missed violations from a lack of Item Pricing Waiver inspections resulted in approximately $1.5 million in uncollected fees. Maragos went on to express that a complete overhaul of Consumer Affairs is needed to restore the confidence of the public and to improve its efficiency.[18]

Innovation[edit]

First Comptroller Nationwide to Post Public Contracts online using Social Media: In January 2014, Comptroller Maragos posted all vendor names, contract amounts and brief summaries of public contracts to social media via Facebook. This is considered to be the first time nationwide that public contracts have been released to the public in such a manner.[19]

Awards[edit]

In 2010 Comptroller Maragos and his staff were awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada, for the County's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.[20] The Comptroller's office was similarly recognized by the professional association in the next five consecutive years (2011-2015).[21]

Maragos's other honors and awards include:

  • Sergeant-at-Arms of the Queens Village Republican Club[22]
  • Public Service Award of the Hempstead Coordinating Council of Civic Associations, October 2013[23]
  • Hispanic Heritage Community Service Leadership Award, of the Theodore Roosevelt Council, Boy Scouts of America, October 2013[23]
  • Superstorm Sandy Leadership Award of the Long Island Contractors' Association (LICA), 2012[23]

Candidacy for Nassau County Executive 2017[edit]

Maragos announced that he would be seeking the Democratic nomination for Nassau County Executive in 2017 on September 29, 2016.[24] He stated that he had been at odds with County Republican leaders "for years"; however, up until May 2016, he had still been donating heavily to Republicans and the County Republican Committee.[25]

He received criticism from both Republicans and Democrats after his switch of party affiliation to run for County Executive. Brian Nevin, spokesman for Republican Edward P. Mangano called him an opportunist with Conservative values that he trumpeted during his two failed Senate campaigns.[24] Peter Zimmerman, Democratic National Committeeman from Great Neck called Maragos's switch "an affront to the principles and standards of the Democratic Party."[24]

Candidacy for United States Senate in 2012[edit]

George Maragos and wife Angela in 2012.

Maragos faced Congressman Bob Turner, and attorney Wendy E. Long in a primary election to face Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. The 2012 New York State Republican convention split the endorsement between the three candidates, with enough support for each candidate to automatically appear on the ballot. The primary occurred June 26, 2012 and the general election will coincide with the presidential election on November 2

Maragos was unable to get name recognition outside of Nassau County and ultimately was defeated and came in last place, 2012.[26]

Maragos also attempted to run for US Senate in 2010. United States Senate election in New York, 2010

Political views[edit]

At one point, Maragos said during an interview that "Some people would even like to marry with their pets," he said, worried that the legalization of gay marriage could also lead to the legalization of polygamy.[27] At the time he was against abortion, except to preserve the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest.[27] Maragos later explained that his views have "evolved," believing in the right of a woman to choose and that same-sex marriage is the law and should be respected.[24]

Personal[edit]

Maragos has been married to Angela since 1973, and has two sons, Peter and Angelo, and two grandchildren.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hadrick, Celeste (updated November 6, 2013). "Maragos defeats Weitzman in Nassau comptroller race" (article preview only; subscription required). Newsday. newsday.com. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Biography: George Maragos". County Comptroller's Office. Nassau County, Long Island, New York. nassaucountyny.gov. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  3. ^ a b c d "County Comptroller's Office", section: "Role of the Comptroller". Nassau County, Long Island, New York. nassaucountyny.gov. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  4. ^ Costello, Alex (updated December 7, 2016). "Nassau Police Overtime Exceeds Budget by $13M: Comptroller". Mineola Patch. patch.com. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  5. ^ Maragos, George, Comptroller (April 25, 2016). Limited Review of the Nassau County Police Department Overtime. The Comptroller's Office audit reports are available by date on the Comptroller's Office's website; the audit of police overtime is a 65-page PDF file, with "Executive Summary" stating purpose (p. i), key findings (p. i-ii), and key recommendations (p. iii-iv), followed by the table of contents (p. v). Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  6. ^ "Audit: NCPD exceeded OT budget by $96M in 6 years". Newsday. Retrieved 2017-09-13.
  7. ^ "Maragos: Study Shows County Population to Decline Over Next 10 Years" (press release). County Comptroller. Nassau County, Long Island, New York. nassaucountyny.gov. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  8. ^ "Audit: Lax accounting cost Nassau $466,919". Newsday. Retrieved 2017-09-13.
  9. ^ Ferris, Marc (2003-05-04). "Surcharge on Cellphones, but for What?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-13.
  10. ^ "Comptroller orders audit over mall tax breaks". Newsday. Retrieved 2017-09-13.
  11. ^ "Residents lambast IDA over tax breaks". Herald Community Newspapers. Retrieved 2017-09-13.
  12. ^ "Maragos Orders Audit of Town of Hempstead (IDA) PILOT". LongIsland.com. Retrieved 2017-09-13.
  13. ^ "Hempstead lawsuit seeks to nullify Green Acres Mall tax reduction agreement". Verizon FiOS1 News - Long Island. Retrieved 2017-09-13.
  14. ^ "County officials hampered audit of probed contract: Maragos - The Island Now". The Island Now. 2017-08-19. Retrieved 2017-09-13.
  15. ^ "Pol: Vendor underpaid employees by $17G". Newsday. Retrieved 2017-09-13.
  16. ^ Castillo, Alfonso A. (updated November 17, 2010). "Comptroller: Nassau, MTA unfair to LI Bus riders" (article preview only; subscription required). Newsday. newsday.com. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  17. ^ Cassese, Sid (updated January 11, 2012). "Nassau comptroller: Unpaid tickets 'urgent issue'" (article preview only; subscription required). Newsday. newsday.com. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  18. ^ "Audit: Consumer office failures cost county $3M". Newsday. Retrieved 2017-09-13.
  19. ^ Hadrick, Celeste (updated January 14, 2014). "Nassau posts its contracts online for the first time'" (article preview only; subscription required). Newsday. newsday.com. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  20. ^ "Comptroller Maragos and Staff Presented with Financial Reporting Achievement Award". County Comptroller's Office. Nassau County, Long Island, New York. nassaucountyny.gov. January 10, 2011. Archived from the original on 2014-08-09. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  21. ^ "Nassau County, NY". Nassau County, NY. Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  22. ^ "Thank you for your valiant efforts on behalf of our candidates!!" (blog post). Events-Blog. November 7, 2013. The Queens Village Republican Club, Inc. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  23. ^ a b c https://www.linkedin.com/in/nccomptroller
  24. ^ a b c d LaRocco, Paul (updated September 29, 2016). "George Maragos to seek Democratic nod in county exec race" (article preview only; subscription required). Newsday. newsday.com. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  25. ^ LaRocco, Paul (updated October 2, 2016). "George Maragos, now a Democrat, was regular GOP donor" (article preview only; subscription required). Newsday. newsday.com. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  26. ^ Reisman, Nick (March 16, 2012). "Three Challengers of Senator Gillibrand Reach the Primary Ballot". Spectrum News NY1: Queens. queens.ny1.com. Archived from the original on 2013-09-21. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  27. ^ a b Ablamsky, Jessica (August 24, 2011). "County comptroller seeks U.S. Senate seat". The Island Now. theislandnow.com. Blank Slate Media. Archived from the original on 2016-09-24. Retrieved 2017-06-24.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Howard Weitzman
Nassau County Comptroller
2010–present
Succeeded by
Jack Schnirman