Bellone secretary on layoff list

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone gives his first

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone gives his first State of the County address in Hauppauge. (April 18, 2012) (Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

The final layoff list sent out by new County Executive Steve Bellone and approved by the county legislature last week happens to include his own secretary, and aides say he wants her back on the payroll.

Geraldine Compitello is officially listed as an $80,000-a-year county executive assistant III. She also had worked for six years as Bellone's secretary when he served as Babylon Town supervisor.

Bellone spokeswoman Vanessa Baird-Streeter said Tuesday that, "at this point in time," Compitello was on the layoff list, and that, "hopefully, something can be worked out." However, she cautioned that officials had yet to identify where to get the savings if the job is restored.

The problem arose because Compitello's position originally was included in layoffs put forward in former County Executive Steve Levy's proposed 2012 budget, Baird-Streeter said.

Bellone became aware that Compitello was among those to be laid off while officials were revising Levy's list, but officials "did not have a plan" to save the job before layoff notices went out, she said.

"At the end of the day, everyone understands the county executive needs an assistant," Baird-Streeter said. "With 30 percent less staff, no one can expect a county executive to work without one." She said Bellone and Compitello declined to be interviewed.

Minority Leader John Kennedy (R-Nesconset) said what happened to Compitello is "clearly a mistake," but errors affecting other vital jobs should also be fixed. "To save this one without entertaining others would not be fair or equitable," Kennedy said.

Bellone last week reduced the number of layoffs from 464 to 315. But he said the revised list provided the same savings, $35 million, this year and next because the mix included higher-wage jobs.

Bellone already has laid off his wife, Tracey, a $110,000-a-year deputy parks commissioner. Bellone aides said she was included because "no one is exempt from the pain."

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