News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics
Spota, Carpenter, Pascale and DeMarco pass on Bellone state of the county speech
Four out of the five countywide elected officials in Suffolk did not attend County Executive Steve Bellone's State of the County Speech on Wednesday night.
District Attorney Thomas Spota, a Democrat, County Treasurer Angie Carpenter, a Republican, County Clerk Judith Pascale, a Republican, and Sheriff Vincent DeMarco, a Conservative Party member, were no-shows for the 58-minute speech at the Suffolk County Legislature in Hauppauge. Comptroller Joseph Sawicki Jr., a Republican, did attend.
Carpenter said she had a "long-standing commitment" that she tried to juggle but ultimately couldn't. The other three did not return calls for comment.
Justin Meyers, a spokesman for Bellone, said, "I can't speak why they couldn't attend. I'm sure they had very good reasons for it."
In his speech, Bellone again called for consolidating the offices of treasurer and comptroller.
Spota, Carpenter, Pascale and DeMarco spoke out against a Bellone proposal in December that would have allowed elected officials to be removed in the middle of their terms. Carpenter, who ran unsuccessfully against Bellone in 2011 and won re-election as treasurer in November, is in office until 2018.
Bellone also peppered his speech with lots of shout-outs to elected officials and county workers. He mentioned eight of the 10 Democratic county lawmakers and Legis. Jay Schneiderman, an Independence Party member, for various accomplishments. But he did not mention any of the six Republican county legislators or Legis. Kate Browning, a Working Families Party member who has clashed with the administration over the closure of the Foley nursing mome in Yaphank.
Legis. John Kennedy, the Republican minority leader, said, "It's either indicative of the fact he's so disengaged he doesn't know what legislator is involved in initiatives, or an overt act to only acknowledge members of his own party."
Meyers called it "just a coincidence," noting that Bellone praised other elected Republicans, including Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine and Pascale.