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Regina Calcaterra said Monday she will soon resign as Suffolk County deputy executive to stay on as director of a state panel investigating utility companies.
Calcaterra had taken a leave of absence till Jan. 15 as chief deputy to County Executive Steve Bellone to run a Moreland Commission empaneled by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo that is reviewing utilities’ performance during and after superstorm Sandy. She said she will resign her county job to remain with the state. The commission will run through at least the spring.
“It’s important that I stay on this,” Calcaterra said Monday, after the panel presented its preliminary recommendations – chiefly, to privatize the Long Island Power Authority after its dismal performance. She added she “enjoyed working with” Bellone.
County sources had said last month that Calcaterra had a run-in with federal emergency officials as she led Suffolk’s superstorm Sandy response. Bellone recently denied that her appointment to the Moreland Commission was used as cover to push her out of her job due to complaints about her management style.
“You always hear people say certain things when there’s a woman in these positions,” Bellone said last week. “I couldn’t be happier with what she’s done here.”
As Bellone's chief deputy, Calcaterra led Suffolk's effort to gain state approval to open its own traffic violations bureau and install more red-light cameras. She also largely put together the pending $23-million sale of the county's John J. Foley nursing home in Yaphank.
County Attorney Dennis Cohen, Bellone's longtime confidant from Babylon town, has been serving as chief deputy county executive in Calcaterra's absence.
[Includes reporting by Paul LaRocco]