There is only one way to move forward on Suffolk County's merger of its treasurer and comptroller offices.
Make . . . it . . . happen. As soon as possible. Anything else is just politics, which already has infected this long-running soap opera.
To recap: Democratic County Executive Steve Bellone finally succeeded last fall in abolishing the treasurer's position when voters approved a referendum to merge it with the comptroller's office at the end of 2017. That's when the term of then-Treasurer Angie Carpenter was due to end. Then Carpenter left March 1 to become Islip Town supervisor.CartoonDavies' latest cartoon: My flagCommentSubmit your letterReader essaysGet published in Newsday
That created an opportunity to accelerate the merger, which Republican Comptroller John M. Kennedy Jr., a former merger foe, now supports and says would save $750,000. A merger at the end of 2015 would require another referendum in November, as proposed by Legis. Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst).
Now the Democrats are saying slow down; they want to see a transition plan. The GOP is talking about having former comptroller Joseph Sawicki run in November for the rest of Carpenter's term -- the $200,000 he has in campaign funds would help a GOP ticket that has to take on Bellone this fall. And leaders from both parties are bemoaning the difficulty of finding someone to run for a position that would no longer exist if the referendum succeeds -- as if that's different from finding in-name-only candidates every election cycle to run imaginary campaigns for seats they know they can't win.
Kennedy says he could do a merger now. Good. He should write a plan, the Suffolk Legislature should put the referendum on November's ballot, each party should find someone to run, and the voters can settle this once and for all -- again.