Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, above, backed Anthony Manetta, a...

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, above, backed Anthony Manetta, a political strategist and fundraiser, for IDA chief executive. (Dec. 20, 2011) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Some political and business leaders are weighing in on last night’s unanimous vote by the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency to give its top staff job to political strategist and fundraiser Anthony Manetta.

Kevin Law, president of the Long Island Association business group, called Manetta “a bright young man who understands the challenges and opportunities for doing business in Suffolk County, and I am sure he will do a great job as the new executive director of the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency.”

The IDA’s board of directors interviewed Manetta last month and then sought other applicants. Seven candidates were considered but only Manetta was interviewed. His prime backer is Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, though the IDA isn’t controlled by him.

County legislators Wayne Horsley (D-Babylon) and Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills), who lead the legislature’s economic development committee, welcomed Manetta’s hiring. Horsley said Manetta “brings a fresh perspective to take on the challenges head on. His deep skill set in business, specifically marketing and public relations, will aggressively increase the profile of the IDA and foster positive job growth.”

Manetta, 32, started his own company and worked for another. He also is a former vice chairman of the Suffolk County Independence Party and best known for helping candidates for public office. He holds a masters in business administration from Dowling College in Oakdale.

Manetta succeeds Bruce E. Ferguson, who has run the IDA for nearly 30 years and is widely admired in the business community. Ferguson, 65, resigned at the behest of Bellone, effective Aug. 31. Ferguson plans to become a consultant.

Photo: Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

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