Jack Schnirman

County Comptroller

Nassau County, NY

Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman was elected in November 2017. A native Long Islander, Jack Schnirman has a proven record of turning around broken and corrupt government finances to improve services and save taxpayers money. After earning a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, Jack returned home to clean up local government.

As Brookhaven Chief Deputy Town Supervisor, Jack took on the culture of corruption that earned the town the nickname “Crookhaven.” Jack helped stop the abuse of taxpayer dollars on no-bid contracts, patronage, and scandals. He stopped past pay-to-play schemes between Town Hall and vendors, including ending the annual theft of $70,000 in lawnmowers. Jack also helped improve town services while saving taxpayers millions by implementing ServiceStat, a management initiative that helps hold town departments accountable. And Jack made government work better for the community by launching a 3-1-1-style constituent response system.

As Long Beach City Manager from 2011-2017, Jack Schnirman helped put the City on the road to recovery from the brink of bankruptcy, inheriting a $14 million deficit and near junk bond status after five downgrades. On Jack’s watch, Long Beach’s bond rating was upgraded twice and received nine consecutive credit positive reviews. Jack helped implement smart reforms—overhauling the city’s purchasing process to ensure all expenses are justified, stopping family members from supervising each other, instituting a new performance management program, and creating a 3-1-1-style smartphone application for residents.

Pro-Growth Progressive Ideas Shared

Problem

Under previous administrations, Nassau County received a D+ grade in transparency in the face of multiple corruption scandals. In 2018, Jack Schnirman was elected County Comptroller with a promise to clean up local government, break up the backroom deals, and restore public trust in our institutions by allowing every member of the public to see how government operates.

Solution

Open Nassau includes a series of open-data web portals that explore different aspects of the County finances. Open Checkbook first launched in January 2019 and allows the public to see how Nassau County pays the tens of thousands of bills to vendors through a searchable platform. Open Payroll gives the public an opportunity to explore how the County’s payroll is distributed across departments and titles. Open Budget and Open Finance provide easy-to-understand breakdowns and summaries of the County’s approved budget and end-of-year finances, including the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. These platforms work together in tandem to make information more accessible to the public.


Problem

Minority communities experience inequities in entrepreneurship, educational attainment, employment, income, homeownership, and access to credit. However, policymakers lack understanding of the scope of the issue and therefore do not have adequate solutions to address it. County residents pay some of the highest taxes in the country and they expect government services to reflect the price tag. As our population changes, and becomes older and more diverse, government must change with it to meet the needs of the new demographics and retain the next generation. The This Is Nassau report series explores the changing demographics of our county and raises policy questions about how government must respond to better serve our changing populations.

Solution

Our recently launched Policy and Research Unit is designed to produce reports to inform the public and our local policymakers on demographic trends and racial economic equity. Whether at the village, town, county, state, or federal level, reports and public engagement meetings are the groundwork to much-needed action.