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Rally in Works to Protest Proposed Cedar Creek Plant Privatization

Opponents of Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano's budget proposal that would turn Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant private planning Nov. 6 rally in Seaford.

A protest rally is being planned for Nov. 6 in Seaford that will voice opposition to a proposed privatization of a local sewage treatment facility.

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano made a budget proposal in mid October that would involve privatizing the county’s three sewage treatment facilities, including the Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant in Wantagh as a cost-savings measure and revenue producer to help close a more than $300 million deficit. Phillip Franco, Co-Chairman of the Cedar Creek Health Risk Assessment Committee, has concerns about the privatization plan and decided to help organize the Nov. 6 protest rally scheduled for in Seaford, located just north of where the plant sits. Franco said he has been satisfied with recent improvements at the plant under Mangano and is concerned that if a private company oversees the facility they will not be as responsive.

“We’re asking Ed Mangano to please not undue all the good he has done at the plant by privatizing,” said Franco, a lifelong Seaford resident who has been a longtime advocate for the health and safety of area surrounding the sewage treatment facility.

Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin emphasized that the possibility of the county’s sewage treatment system being privatized is still in the preliminary stages. Nevin said the county has issued a request for qualifications to take over the sewage treatment system and a request for proposals will likely be sent out in the next 60 days. He said Mangano has invested more than $75 million into the county’s sewage treatment facilities and is committed to see them maintained at a high level if privatized.

“We’re not going to move forward with privatization unless it’s best for the community,” said Nevin. "We need to make sure that the experts are running these plants, people that will be held accountable by both government and by residents."

Specific details of the Nov. 6 protest rally at Cedar Creek are still being organized. Franco said other issues such as the possible closure of two police precincts and the in Seaford may also be raised during the rally. 

Nevin said the Mangano administration is planning to meet with Franco and other community leaders on Nov. 2 to discuss their concerns on the possible privatization of the Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant, which is located in the vicinity of the and in Wantagh. County officials attended a meeting this past spring to that have been done to the plant. During a Nassau County Legislature meeting last December, for recent renovations he instituted at the facility.

Nassau County's other two sewage treatment plants that would be affected by the proposed privatization plan are located in Bay Park and Glen Cove. The Cedar Creek and Bay Park plants process 85 percent of the sewage collected within the county and each treat roughly 58 millions of gallons per day, according to county officials.

Phillip Franco November 01, 2011 at 05:37 AM
I am pursuing this matter on behalf of the Cedar Creek Oversight Committee and the Seaford Harbor PTA. I've asked the county to contact the school districts and have a public meeting, but they have chosen not to have a public meeting at this time.
Chris Wendt November 01, 2011 at 09:47 AM
Are there any other "community leaders" out there who are planning to meet with Brian Nevin and the Mangano administration, tomorrow, November 2nd? If so, where and when is that meeting scheduled to occur?
Phillip Franco November 01, 2011 at 01:19 PM
As far as I know, the only ones invited to that meeting are the superintendents of the Seaford and Wantagh School districts. I believe it is being held in Mineola. The county was asked to contact the schools to set up a public meeting, but they set up a private meeting instead.
Chris Wendt November 01, 2011 at 07:38 PM
I don't want to go chasing shadows on this. How do you know there is a meeting such as you described? Are the Superintendents planning to participate (if you know)? Thanks.
Phillip Franco November 01, 2011 at 10:33 PM
The superintendent of the Seaford School District informed me that he is meeting with the county tomorrow along with the superintendent of the Wantagh School District. I asked for the county to set up a public meeting and this where it ended up.
mongoose65 November 02, 2011 at 01:02 PM
I don't believe a word of those scare tactics. Waste treatment has become highly technical and seen great improvements in recent years. I have seen Nassau's and Hempstead town's idea of keeping up with "technology" across the board. Any private entity will be light years more efficient and cheaper than the county. Maybe it's anecdotal, but I'd bet my tax bill on it.
mongoose65 November 02, 2011 at 01:06 PM
Why the fuss? Didn't this plant just get a D (or maybe C) rating? It was 2nd worst on Long Island. Is that indicative of the "improvements" Mangano has made? Enough layers of govt and special district nonesense. Privatize it, let someone else invest in making it efficient and let's move on.
Phillip Franco November 02, 2011 at 01:34 PM
NO, lets get it back from a C to an A rating where it used to be years ago when the county ran it as it was designed to run; as we were promised before they plopped it between two elementary schools. Promote the workers up thru the ranks like it should have been done years ago; let them do their job and we will be back to an A rating in no time. Privatize and we could be at an F rating in no time at ten times the cost.
mongoose65 November 02, 2011 at 02:27 PM
Based on what, Mr. Franco? Evidence of private waste treatment management initiatives that have failed vs. Nassau County's historical ineptitude. Spare me the anecdotes. Give me some evidence. If we want to be anecdotal (and hyperbolic), I don't trust the County to manage a lemonade stand.
eric November 02, 2011 at 02:36 PM
Mongoose65....you are 100% correct
Phillip Franco November 02, 2011 at 02:39 PM
Our plant used to win all kinds of awards and was considered one of the best in the country. Run the plant the way it was desinged to run.
eric November 02, 2011 at 02:56 PM
Mr.Franco, it appears as if you are missing our point, we agree that the workers can perform and run the plant at the highest level, it's the County politicians "aka management" that can not. We need to take the control "out of their incompetent hands, and place it with a responsible company that can deliver while also keeping the cost affordable.
Lorraine DeVita November 02, 2011 at 04:30 PM
Mr Francos assumption that privatizing the treatment plant will sound a death knell for efficiency etc etc etc. is somehow disarming .. We dont know for sure either way.. To make assumptions that a private company will run the plant LESS efficently and LESS effecitvely without definiative knoweldge of the companies past track records in other communities and what technology they will if any bring to the table is rather presumptuous. We need to know who this company is, their track record, and what the benefits will be IF any to Both communities and what the down side will be IF any. SO far I personally havent heard anything of substance EITHER way to make an informed decision..Get the facts, disseminate them without predjudice and then everyone can make an informed decision. By Far the Residents and Students MOST effected are those in SEAFORD, with the Harbor school literally bordering the plant property. Perhaps the contract for sale should include building and maintaining the new secondary access/egress road for the Harbor school as part of the deal. Something that SHOULD have been done with the intitial plant build years ago!
Phillip Franco November 02, 2011 at 05:18 PM
The deliberate neglect by the previous administration put the plant where it is today. If it weren't for the current administrations actions last Aug, perhaps Cedar would have gotten a D also. I have been at this since before the plant was even finished as was the head of plant maintenance in the blue ribbon years. We both acknowledge that the current administration has done a lot to bring the plant back,but we also agree that the current position of a public-private partnership is a misguided one. As for the egress road at the school, I believe that funds may be on the way from the federal government.
Lorraine DeVita November 02, 2011 at 08:19 PM
Mr. Franco, While i applaud your efforts to insure a safe and well run plant on behalf of the community at large, I am puzzled your ferverent support of the current staffing and the current county leader.Mr Mangano I am sure he didnt want a Cedar creek explosion on his hands so did what was neccessary to remedy the issues especially in an election year. . Something we PAY him by the way to do .. Are you a county employee? a Waste management expert or just a concerned citizen who has become waste management proficient due to the location and proximity of the plant from its inception? Either way I am glad you are as vigilant as you are but i would hope that ANY company looking to privitize this facility is well of aware of the pros and cons of the physical plant as it stands today AND the current employees.. .. I would like to know if anyone knows the contenders for the takeover. So we as a community can do our due dilligence and research them. If anyone HAS that information I would appreciate you posting it..I think perhaps until we do know MORe about the "who what when where and how " of this topic which we as tax payers have the right to know ,we should reserve judgement on whether or not this is a good thing or a bad thing for the county and for both Seaford & Wantagh.
Phillip Franco November 03, 2011 at 12:46 AM
I am a lifelong resident who's father helped stop the county from prematurely opening the plant before the outfall pipe was complete back in the 70s.The same gentleman that was involved with my father back then, who later became the head of maintenance during the blue ribbon years is involved with me right now. THIS IS NO GREAT SUPRISE TO THE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE. This plan has been in the works for YEARS. This is a carry-over from the previous administration. The plan is a pig; you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig.
Chris Wendt November 03, 2011 at 01:05 AM
Cedar Creek got a "C" rating, despite having the largest number of complaints among all the plants that were rated.
Chris Wendt November 03, 2011 at 01:08 AM
We have a private water company that people want the government to take over.... We have a government-run sewage plant that the government wants to privatize.... Who is connecting the dots on this stuff?
Chris Wendt November 03, 2011 at 03:11 PM
Any report on yesterday's secret meeting in Mineola among Ed Mangano, Brian Conboy, and Dr. Marsh on this subject? Perhaps it will be discussed at the Seaford BoE meeting tonight?
Lorraine DeVita November 04, 2011 at 02:43 AM
Mr. Franco, While not a life long resident, I have lived here 37 years, I again applaude your dedication and passion to insure a SAFE well run facitlity because it impacts ALL of us especially those in direct proximity. My concern with this entire private VS county issue is this- Until we know WHO , how can we condem a company that we have no information about? Privitizing a municipal facility does not neccessarily mean it will blow up or be run less efficiently nor does it guarantee it wont. You state the plan "is a pig" WHAT exactly IS the plan? We have no information one way or the other except the county is considering, (which i will conceed usually means it is going to happen). But again WHO are the contenders, who were the RFP's sent to and what are their track records Hopefully when the community at large is given this information in a non prejudicial manner and we find YOUR concerns are valid we can rally behind you and your committee to insure that Cedar Creek as well as the other two plants are not used as a political ploy by the county. Safety and a well run facitlity should be the deciding factors. I am sure you can agree WHO runs it is not as important as HOW it is run. My question to you is this . The county admittedly hasnt done much to keep the facility in top shape and running efficiently what makes you think that if their efforts to sell are thwarted they will do a better job in the future? Expecially when there is no money to do so.
Phillip Franco November 04, 2011 at 03:55 AM
It was discussed at the Seaford BOE meeting. The county did not want to release any more details at this time, however; the did agree that they would hold a meeting at the high school sometime in the future.
Phillip Franco November 04, 2011 at 05:02 AM
Ms. DeVita, A sewage plant must be maintained in order to operate safely and efficiently 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. There is no time for strikes, job actions or bankruptcies. So the members of the oversight committee feel very strongly that NO private company should be considered because it diminishes the protections of over 1000 elementary school children on the immediate perimeter of the plant. It took us years to expose the deliberate neglect of the previous administration. The workers in the plant were labeled "disgruntled" and "trouble makers' because of their constant objections of the way the plant was being run. The plant was deliberately understaffed an maintenance on critical equipment such as flame arrestors intentionally put off in violation of manufacturer requirements. The money is there. The money has always been there. The sewer tax is SEPARATE from the general fund. So the money to run the plant is collected every year but was not spent. The running down of the plants was a deliberate act. This was all testified to in a hearing at the legislature in Feb. 2010. The previous admin. had it in their "MASTER PLAN" to privatize. WHY PRIVATIZE IF IT ISN'T BROKE..........IF IT ISN'T BROKE THEN BREAK IT. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
Chris Wendt November 04, 2011 at 09:49 AM
So, the County Exec drags two school districts' Superintendents over to the county seat to tell them he doesn't want to release any details, but will have a meeting in the district(s) later? Or, did he really get them in a room and dangle PILOTs in front of them to enlist their support for privatization? (He could not dangle property tax revenue for both districts as the Sewage Plant is only in one district, not both...I think Wantagh). Not that Dr. Marsh and Brian Conboy could not handle such a meeting professionally, but, their job as Superintendents is to serve as the Educational Leaders of their districts. The subject of such a meeting, this topic, is not about education, but it is all about raw politics; politics as they relate to school districts is really the realm of the elected Boards of Education, not professional educators, in my opinion. Thank you very much for the update, though!
Wayne Smith November 04, 2011 at 10:10 AM
Let's be honest: if the proposed privitization plan for the bus system is any indication, the county's track record when it comes to keeping affected constituencies informed is nothing short of dismal. The controversy over the bus system is not such a big issue in Wantagh and Seaford, but a huge topic in other communities where people are more dependent on mass transit. It's pretty clear that the county is not going to release any details about route or schedule changes until after election day, which is not a good sign. Meantime, the transition to privitization takes place in January, so it's hard to imagine how most of the details of this arrangement haven't actually been locked down at this point. In view of this, it's therefore not surprising that many people feel that the county is willfully withholding information. Will the communication relative to Cedar Creek be any better?
Phillip Franco November 05, 2011 at 05:48 AM
As indicated in Newsday, the original deal with the buses was to contain no fare hikes and no route cuts. Now in the 11th hour, the new bus company indicates on it website that there will be fare hikes and route cuts, but mums the word at the county. see things being any different when it comes to a Public Private Partnership(the new county buzz-words for privatization) involving the entire sewer system.
Phillip Franco November 05, 2011 at 05:56 AM
Mr.Wendt, Isn't also the job of a superintendent to also investigate and act on maters of safety in his district?
Chris Wendt November 05, 2011 at 10:18 AM
The only reason the County Exec would summon two school superintendents to Mineola would be to make a sales pitch or soften them up on his idea for privatization. In my opinion, the best way he could accomplish the softening-up would be to dangle some financial incentives in front of them, like a PILOTs program. Don't forget, this is the same County Exec who is foisting responsibility from the County and on to the school districts' budgets, for property tax refunds resulting from the crappy county tax assessment system. Ed Mangano should be viewed as being no friend of Nassau's school districts. If either Superintendent had some concern over safety at Cedar Creek, I would think their first contact would be with your committee, and that, if those concerns were genuine, the superintendents' meeting with the County would have (should have) included your group.
Phillip Franco November 05, 2011 at 10:01 PM
You are a very wise and observant man.
Phillip Franco November 08, 2011 at 06:38 AM
your right on the money
Jim January 03, 2012 at 01:26 AM
The January survey on www.Wantagh.LI asks about privatization - survey results are forwarded to the media and local officials.

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