Suffolk Legis.-elect William Lindsay III will not take office until January, despite discussions over the past week that would have seated him immediately.
"It's the best legal option," said Legislative Counsel George Nolan, who consulted with County Attorney Dennis Brown before ruling on the issue Wednesday.
While seating Lindsay immediately to fill a vacant seat would be automatic in most years, questions arose because the law for filling vacancies does not specifically deal with what should happen in the once-a-decade process in which the county legislature redraws its district lines.
Lindsay won election from voters in a newly drawn 8th District, which is about 10 percent different from the old district that his late father, former Presiding Officer William Lindsay (D-Holbrook), represented until his death in September. That means the younger Lindsay for the next six weeks would represent some voters who never had the chance to cast ballots for him. Nolan suggested that the county legislature consider amending the law to avoid future problems.
"I think Bill is a measured and sensible person. He clearly won and did not want any clouds hanging over his head," said Presiding Officer Wayne Horsley (D-Babylon). He said he expects the legislature to amend the law early next year.
Lindsay expressed concern the district would not have a lawmaker for another two months, but added, there's "no choice under these unique circumstances."
Lindsay said his late father's staff will continue to help constituents. Lindsay defeated Republican Anthony Musumeci 6,333 to 5,920, according to unofficial results. Elections officials say Lindsay's victory is expected to be certified sometime next week.
Legis. John M. Kennedy Jr. (R-Nesconset), the minority leader, called the Democrats' decision "very wise," noting that if they had tried to move ahead it would have "clearly been a violation of the [voting] franchise." Kennedy added that he "looks forward" to working with Lindsay.
Meanwhile, Republican Anthony Palumbo also will be seated in January after winning a vacant 2nd District Assembly seat, formerly held by Brookhaven Highway Superintendent Daniel Losquadro. A state elections spokesman said Palumbo will take office in January because Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo did not call a special election to fill the vacancy.