Martin C. Evans

Yngstrom Out As Nassau Vets director. Rufrano Alive and Well in Oyster Bay

In Uncategorized on February 15, 2011 at 10:14 am

A respected acting director of Nassau County’s Veterans Services Agency has been forced into retirement and replaced by an appointee with little formal education and no managerial experience, but with political ties to Nassau County’s Republican Party.

Michael Kilbride, who has worked as a claims counselor for the agency since 1995, was tapped by Republican County Executive Ed Mangano to replace acting director Pat Yngstrom.

Yngstrom developed a loyal following among leaders of area veterans groups, who say his ability to focus government and volunteer services has helped veterans access homeless services, job counseling, federal veterans benefits and other support.

But Mangano forced Yngstrom into retirement and replaced him in the $81,500-per year position with Kilbride, whose only job since a four-year hitch with the Marines has been helping veterans fill out benefits claims as a $61,500-per year veterans counselor for Nassau County.

And aide to Mangano said Kilbride was chosen for the position because the county executive wanted a director who could expand the reach of the agency. But when I asked Kilbride to describe his vision for the agency and what direction he would like to take it in, Kilbride demurred, saying “I really wasn’t prepared to answer that question.”

Kilbride’s resume says he studied at Nassau Community College, but does not indicate when he attended, or whether he got a degree. It does not indicate any further education, or any experience running a government agency.

Meanwhile, I screwed up in my article in Newsday when I said that a past director, Mathew J. Rufrano, died last year. Not so. I spoke to Mr. Rufrano this morning. He told me he left the Nassau agency suddenly because of a serious heart condition, but has fully recovered and is handing veterans issues for the Town of Oyster Bay.

I apologized to Mr. Rufrano for the worry my article caused his friends and family. I must also apologize to my readers, who depend on me for accurate information.

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  1. Thank you for your honesty and directness. I’ve respected my brother’s dedication since he returned from conflict; first as a volunteer and than as Director under Thomas Gulotta. He left a rising position at Consolidated Edison to take the position to help his peers. His direction now is to ensure that the person who takes his former position will be qualified to continue his quest to help all Veterans; without undue politcal motives.

  2. In addition, Pat respected Mr. Rufrano and enjoyed his short experience with him before his illness forced his untimely departure. In his acting position Pat raised the Veterans cash rewards from $1.5 million in 2009 to $4.5 million over the past year

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