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.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone was missing in action last week after he was scheduled to be the headline speaker for the Brookhaven Democrats’ $125-a-head fundraising event that attracted 75 people.

Some local Democratic officials were upset, saying it wasn’t the first time Bellone had missed a local appearance. Party officials said they changed the date of the event to accommodate Bellone’s schedule. The fundraiser was held Tuesday night at Windows on the Lake in Lake Ronkonkoma.

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“It’s hardly surprising because it’s happened before,” said Barry McCoy, a member of the town Democratic executive committee. “We in Brookhaven feel a bit slighted . . . It seems he does not take the town very seriously.”

Jason Elan, Bellone’s spokesman, called it a “scheduling mixup” and an “honest oversight.” Elan said Bellone was attending National Night Out police events in Wyandanch and Brentwood. Elan said Bellone fully supports the Brookhaven Democratic slate and has contributed $2,500 to their campaign.

Lillian Clayman, town party chairwoman, downplayed Bellone’s absence, saying “I’ll reserve my ire for people who do things deliberately. I’m sure he will step up and I think it will strengthen our bond.”

Jesse Garcia, Brookhaven GOP chairman, said Bellone’s absence and the small turnout “clearly demonstrates the lack of support and enthusiasm that Democrats have among themselves and from the people of Brookhaven.”