The Long Island Power Authority has begun a search for a new chief executive, advertising that the job will pay up to $325,000 -- a $50,000 increase from its current level.

Meanwhile, LIPA is set to welcome a renowned physicist to its board: Barry McCoy, a distinguished professor at Stony Brook University's Institute for Theoretical Physics.

A recently published notice on the website of the American Public Power Association says the LIPA CEO post will pay a salary of between $250,000 and $325,000. Outgoing chief executive John McMahon is paid a base salary of $275,000.

dataSearch LIPA payroll

In the past, the LIPA salary reached $295,000 under former CEO Kevin Law. Richard Kessel made $214,500 as LIPA chief in 2007. LIPA staffing has been halved to 41 employees and its role limited by the 2013 LIPA Reform Act primarily to oversight.

LIPA spokesman Sid Nathan said the authority presented a salary "range to attract the best possible candidate for this position, and until LIPA trustees find the right candidate, it would be premature to speculate on the final salary."

LIPA trustees Mark Fishl and Matthew Cordaro have expressed interest in the post, and sources have said the field could include LIPA finance chief Tom Falcone, Department of Public Service Long Island director Julia Bovey and Jon Kaiman, the former North Hempstead supervisor who previously was considered for the post.

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Newly named LIPA trustee McCoy has received the nod from the Long Island Democratic Assembly delegation and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx).

McCoy, who holds a doctorate in physics from Harvard University, will fill a spot created when Marc Alessi resigned from his board seat in December. McCoy was a founder of Ratepayers Against LILCO, a group that challenged the LIPA predecessor's plan to finance construction of the Shoreham nuclear power plant from ratepayers before it ever operated.

He said he will focus on increasing transparency at LIPA and on advancing green energy initiatives and lingering LIPA problems. "I would like to find out why my house is paid off after 30 years and the Shoreham debt is still causing rates to be high on Long Island," he said.

Assemb. Steve Englebright (D-Setauket), who also teaches at Stony Brook, said McCoy will bring a keen eye for numbers. "He will not be someone who will have a passive relationship to a pageful of numbers," he said. "He's going to know what they mean, and if not, he'll ask questions, and if the numbers don't make sense, he'll say so."