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6 vie to become next Suffolk IDA director

Six people are vying to succeed the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency's executive director, officials said Friday.

Some of the candidates for the position, which pays between $110,000 and $130,000 per year, have decades of experience in economic development and finance. The agency offers tax incentives and other aid to companies and not-for-profit groups in return for new jobs and investment in buildings and equipment.

The agency's board of directors will meet Tuesday to review applications and determine whether more information is needed, said board vice chairman David Rosenberg.

Following its interview of political strategist and fundraiser Anthony Manetta, the board decided to seek more candidates. Manetta is backed by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone; the development agency is independent of him.

On May 17, Executive Director Bruce E. Ferguson resigned after nearly 30 years at the behest of Bellone. In addition to Manetta, candidates to succeed Ferguson include retired banker Frederick C. Braun III, longtime board chairman of the Brookhaven Town IDA, and Martin R. Cantor, economic development commissioner and Suffolk IDA vice chairman during 1988-91.

Braun, citing his 46 years in commercial banking in an interview, said Suffolk must continue to counteract other states' trying to lure away local companies.

Braun, at the Brookhaven IDA, helped with the local expansions of Symbol Technologies and Uncle Wally's Muffins, among others.

Cantor was also involved in the Symbol deal and helped bring CA Technologies to Islandia. "We need to identify what keeps businesses here and develop incentives around those principles," he said.

Manetta has vowed to raise the IDA's profile. Although best known for his work in politics, he started a consulting business, worked for another and holds an MBA from Dowling College.

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