New Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman says Nancy Lynn Thiele’s credentials are “by far the strongest” to become the next town attorney, but that he hasn’t made a final decision on the $132,000-a-year post.
Thiele, wife of Assemb. Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor), is currently a $92,000-a-year senior counsel for the state Senate Codes Committee run by the Republican majority. In the past she held a similar post in the Assembly’s GOP minority and once served as an assistant district attorney in Rensselaer County.
Schneiderman, an Independence Party member who won with Democratic backing, said “she’s the best based on her resume and her interview. “And the fact that her husband is an assemblyman should not be a deal-breaker.”
But Schneiderman said he has four other candidates to lead a staff with four attorneys. He said he will decide after the Jan. 26 special election for a vacant town board seat, which is now split 2-2 with Republicans.
Sources say one concern for Schneiderman may be Thiele’s role as chairman of the town Independence Party, and that he may seek to have him step down from that post to avoid any potential conflicts.
Schneiderman said he also received a resume from Republican Damon Hagan, currently campaign manager for town board candidate Richard Yastrzemski, who ran a losing town supervisor race last fall. Should Yastrzemski win, it could give the Republicans a 3-2 board edge and power to name Hagen, although the supervisor usually gets to choose the town attorney with board confirmation. However, Democrat Julie Lofstad is running with Conservative and Independence Party backing.
“My goal is to get the best town attorney I can find whose opinions I can take to the bank,” Schneiderman said. Richard Schaffer, the Suffolk Democratic chairman and a close friend of Fred Thiele, said, “In my opinion, Jay couldn’t make any better choice than Nancy Lynn, given her wide experience.”