Less than a month after announcing her intended candidacy, Town of Islip Clerk Regina Duffy has decided she will not run for the post in the November elections.
"I'm not running," Duffy, 63, told Newsday Tuesday. "I've had four fantastic years, it's been a privilege to serve the people of the Town of Islip, but I want to go out on top and I think I'm doing that."
Duffy, a Conservative, was one of five designated candidates endorsed last month on a joint Republican-Conservative ticket for town supervisor, two town board positions, town clerk and assessor of taxes. Asked to explain the change of heart, she said, "There's a lot of different reasons. . . . I don't want to go into it. I've had a fantastic run but it's taken its toll on me and I think it's the end of my political career."
Duffy's tenure was not without controversy. An audit by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found the clerk's office was missing $3,550 from the period of January to August 2008, when Duffy was serving.
A sexual harassment lawsuit brought by a staffer in her office is ongoing in Eastern District federal court, said Scott Michael Mishkin, the attorney for plaintiff Lorraine Fitzpatrick. A complaint against Duffy by another staffer was filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, according to attorney Eden Mauro of Syosset.
Shortly after the candidates were announced last month at Islip GOP headquarters, former Democratic assemblywoman and county legislator Ginny Fields said she would run against Duffy and is expected to have the backing of the town party. Four years ago, the Democrats cross-endorsed Duffy.
Islip Republican Committee chairman Frank Tantone said, "I have not heard anything official yet."
Suffolk Conservative Party chairman Ed Walsh, the party's former Islip leader, said, "Regina Duffy did a good job. For personal reasons, she's decided to pull out," adding his party later this week will screen two candidates to replace her.
Town Supervisor Phil Nolan, a Democrat, said he wished Duffy the best. "It's extremely embarrassing for the Republican-Conservative deal," he said. "It's unraveling within a couple of weeks of the announcement -- I guess we'll have to stay tuned."