Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone on Tuesday nominated Barry Paul, a county executive aide with experience in government and corporate mergers, as county treasurer following the departure of Republican Angie Carpenter to become Islip Town supervisor.
Paul, 57, a Republican who serves as Bellone's director of performance management, would serve in the post only until a new treasurer is elected in November. Paul said he will not run for the two years left on Carpenter's term.
Paul's name surfaced after Bellone's talks with former Republican Comptroller Joseph Sawicki broke down last week and Sawicki withdrew from consideration. Sawicki said he withdrew because he prefers to seek the job in an election.More coverageSuffolk budget issues
"I have every intention of seeking the Republican and Conservative lines to run for treasurer in November," said Sawicki.
Deputy County executive Jon Schneider called Paul "a nonpartisan professional with a strong finance and management background, with experience in mergers to help the office during the transition."
If confirmed by county lawmakers, Paul would be paid $187,000 a year as treasurer -- the same salary Bellone voluntarily takes -- compared with the $192,191 a year budgeted for the elected post. Schneider said Paul's appointment would not add any cost because his current $132,000 a year job and two patronage posts in the treasurer's office -- worth a total of $150,000 annually -- would be left vacant.
Bellone's resolution to appoint Paul followed introduction of a GOP proposal last week to hold a new referendum in November to move up the date of the merger of the treasurer and comptroller offices -- set for 2018 under a referendum approved by voters -- to next year.
Legis. Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst), GOP caucus leader, said he was encouraged by the fact that Bellone did not seek an emergency resolution to fill the treasurer's job immediately, saying it will allow the competing proposals to go before a committee prior to the next meeting of the full legislature on March 24.
"Let's catch our breath here," McCaffrey said.
Republican county Comptroller John Kennedy said, "My main motivation is to save money, because it's clear that's what the public wants."
Paul, of Patchogue, has worked for the county executive's office for three months, and previously spent more than two years as deputy county commissioner of health, where he oversaw water quality issues and health inspectors.
Earlier, Paul had worked for eight years as Nassau County deputy budget director. He also spent 20 years at Grumman as a program director.
In Suffolk, he helped with the merger of the risk management unit into the county attorney's office.
"My experience has made me a change agent," said Paul.
Schneider said that, while the administration is not looking to change the merger date, Paul will "provide us with a good assessment of where everything stands and whether there's merit [in] going to a different time line than what voters approved."Suffolk Democratic chairman Richard Schaffer could not say who the party might put up as a treasurer candidate, but said "all options are open," including the possibility of cross-endorsing a candidate. County GOP leader John Jay LaValle did not return calls for comment.
Schaffer also said there's no need for immediate action. "It's not at the top of my list," he said.