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Betty Manzella, a Shirley village trustee, was named Monday as the $121,799-a-year Republican deputy elections commissioner, succeeding Smithtown Republican chairman William Ellis, who was fired from the post 10 days ago.
Manzella, a cousin of the late John Powell, former Suffolk GOP chairman, is a 20-year elections board employee, who until now had been a $75,696-a-year elections forms processor.
The promotion came on her 58th birthday.
Nick LaLota, GOP elections commissioner, called her appointment “well deserved,” noting she has “shown a multitude of talents” while working with different departments at the board. Reached later, Ellis described Manzella as “a competent person,” but declined to comment beyond that.
LaLota said no decision has been made about filling the job of Michael Torres, who was fired as senior assistant commissioner the same day as Ellis.
Torres is secretary of the Suffolk Conservative committee and a key ally of Suffolk Conservative chairman Edward Walsh. His firing came after Conservatives made a deal with Democrats in which Torres’ future father-in-law, Howard Heckman, was given a state Supreme Court nomination. Torres called Manzella “eminently qualified for the job.”
The appointment returns one of the board’s four top jobs to the Brookhaven GOP committee. The town party lost the commissioner’s post earlier in the year when Suffolk GOP Chairman John Jay LaValle named LaLota as GOP commissioner, replacing Wayne Rodgers, a Brookhaven resident.