Rick Brand Portrait of Newsday reporter Rick Brand taken on

Rick Brand is a longtime Newsday reporter who writes about politics and government on Long Island.

Richard Schaffer, Babylon supervisor and Suffolk Democratic chairman, waded hip deep into the Amityville mayoral battle last week by personally paying for a full-page ad in the local weekly calling village Trustee Nick LaLota, “unfit to serve.”

Schaffer, who doesn’t live in the village, also donated $1,000 of his own money to back LaLota’s mayoral opponent, Dennis Siry, also a trustee, in the March 23 election. LaLota is running on the Amityville First Party ballot line and Siry is the Hometown Party candidate.

In the ad, Schaffer attacked LaLota, also Suffolk’s GOP election commissioner, for pressing for disciplinary action against four village cops who put in for volunteer fire retirement pension credits for fire calls that occurred when they were on duty as police.

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“I ask you to send a loud and clear message that bullies will not be tolerated,” Schaffer said.

LaLota called Schaffer’s involvement “highly inappropriate.” LaLota said Siry and village board voted unanimously in 2015 to seek disciplinary charges against the four village officers. The matter was settled later in a confidential agreement.

“Chairman Schaffer’s big party politics is unwelcome in our small village,” LaLota said. “This has much more to do with town council districts than anything else.”

LaLota last year circulated petitions for a referendum to create council districts in the town, which now is controlled by Democrats, who run on a townwide basis. The town clerk rejected the petitions and Schaffer and LaLota have traded charges on whether some signatures were not properly witnessed.