Suffolk Legis. Kevin McCaffrey is altering his plan to expedite the merger of the county treasurer's office with the comptroller to eliminate the chance that the county could end up with an elected treasurer in November who could serve for just six weeks.
McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst), the minority leader, Tuesday will introduce a resolution to accompany an existing proposal calling for a referendum this November to speed up the merger to Jan. 1.
Under a referendum approved last year, the agencies would have merged in 2018.ColumnGOP lawmakers seek speed-up of comptroller, treasurer merger in Suffolk
Typically, the winner of a special election to fill a vacancy takes office once election results are certified.
McCaffrey's new resolution would delay the filling of the treasurer's position until Jan. 1 -- eliminating the possibility that the special election winner would serve for only a few weeks if the referendum to speed up the merger passes.
The special election was called after former Treasurer Angie Carpenter left the post early to become Islip Town supervisor.
Legislative counsel George Nolan said the county charter is silent on when a new treasurer would start work after a special election.
"This is just a belt and suspenders resolution to make it clear," he said.
McCaffrey said Republicans and Democrats embrace the speedy merger because it will save money. Comptroller John Kennedy, a Republican, has promised to provide a detailed plan on how he would implement the merger by the start of the year if voters approve the referendum.
Democrats say they are open to moving up the merger but want to see Kennedy's plans before moving forward.
Former Comptroller Joseph Sawkicki, who was term-limited last year, hasexpressed interest in running for the truncated two-year treasurer's term.
However, he said he would not run for the job that "may or may not exist." He added shortening the transition time from two years "is a major mistake because the merger has to be completed very methodically."However, McCaffrey's new resolution could leave political parties the problem of finding candidates to run for treasurer in case voters do not approve the expedited merger.
McCaffrey called it an issue "for the political minds to figure out. My job is to just try and do some good government."
Suffolk Democratic Chairman Richard Schaffer said: "How can you find someone to run for an office which may not be there?"
John Jay LaValle, Suffolk GOP chairman, could not be reached for comment.