Newsday has more from yesterday's story on Legislator Richard Nicolello's employment in the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District.
Newsday reports "Nassau County Legis. Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park), 48, has been carried on the payroll of the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park school district for more than 20 years -- receiving health benefits for part of the time, as well as pension credits -- even while the district paid his law firm tens of thousands of dollars in fees."
"Nicolello.... [has] not yet begun collecting pensions, records show. Nicolello gave up his school health benefits after being elected to the Legislature, which provides benefits, he said.
In an interview, Nicolello stressed that he never claimed more than part-time credit for his schoolwork. He said he recently changed his status at the district to independent contractor from employee."
"I looked at what the comptroller said, and it was a matter of elevating form over substance," he said."
Before being elected to the legislature, he was deputy town attorney for the Town of North Hempstead. He didn't get health coverage there?
From Nicolello's official bio on the Nassau County website "Legislator Nicolello has also served as the Counsel to the Board of Education of the New Hyde Park - Garden City Park U.F.S.D. since 1987. As Board Counsel he provides advice on all of the aspects of operating a school district."
A few questions for Nicolello:
1) Why didn't you get health benefits from your law firm?
2) When providing "advice on all of the aspects of operating a school district" did it never occur to you that you are not a full time employee but a part-time contract employee?
3) Why didn't you know about your status with the district?
4) Are other employees of the district working part-time getting the same health benefits you received?
5) Weren't you informed of the pension credits?
6) Did you double-dip with health insurance as an employee of the Town of North Hempstead and of the school district?
Nicolello can claim ignorance of his status up until now but that means he really wasn't the best person for the district to get advice from.