Spin Cycle

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Suffolk's treasurer, comptroller look to build case against merger

Two top county officials whose departments County Executive Steve Bellone wants to merge are looking to retain outside lawyers to determine the impact on their agencies and taxpayers.

Suffolk Comptroller Joseph Sawicki has already hired Paul Sabatino, former chief deputy county executive and long-time legislative counsel, as well as Anton Borovina to review details of the legislation.

Carpenter, who is virtually assured re-election but would have no post in January if the measure wins voter approval, has made a request to County Attorney Dennis Brown to authorize retaining legal counsel as well. Brown said he has received Carpenter’s request and it is “under review.” He said Sawicki has not made a similar request.

Sabatino said he and Borovina have been retained and have begun their review but have yet to sign an agreement. He said Sawicki has money in his budget that could cover the expense, could use campaign funds or could seek authorization from Brown. He said no final decision has been made on how to finance the review.

Bellone made the merger proposal last month, claiming it would save taxpayers $1 million a year. He is looking for a legislative vote July 30 to authorize a November referendum.

Carpenter has maintained that estimate is overblown and said she wants an outside legal expert to help “protect the integrity of the county’s financial system.” She added she has concerns the pending legislation would compromise existing checks and balances and safeguards the county now has.

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Which was the most fevered lunge for self-promotion by a power player?

Rep. Michael Grimm saying he can continue to serve despite pleading guilty to felony tax fraud. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calling on the GOP to push Grimm out. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) declining to comment until he meets with Grimm.

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