Former Suffolk Presiding Officer Paul Tonna, a Republican, faces legislative approval this month for membership on the county Industrial Development Agency -- where sources say he'd be in line for chairman.

The unpaid post is a legislative appointment, but Tonna acknowledged that County Executive Steve Bellone, a Democrat, approached him. Tonna said, "I just want to help out . . . If they see fit to appoint me chair that would be great, but right now it's one step at a time."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Attorney David Rosenberg has been acting chairman since spring. Ordinarily, the IDA chair is the county executive's top economic adviser, who is currently Joanne Minieri. Former chairman Jim Morgo called Tonna "a good choice. He knows everyone and knows how to get things done."

Bellone deputy Jon Schneider noted that board members decide the chairman. "I'm not aware of any preference we have," he said.-- Rick Brand