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Long IslandColumnistsRick Brand

Errol Toulon Jr. hires new undersheriff in Suffolk

Kevin Catalina, a retiring NYPD chief, will make $139,000 a year.

Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr. has picked retiring NYPD Deputy Chief Kevin Catalina as his new $139,000-a-year undersheriff, starting Aug. 1.

Catalina, 51, of Sayville, is a member of the Conservative Party, which backed Democrat Toulon in his last-minute entry into the sheriff’s race. The minor party came on board after its original choice, Republican state Sen. Phil Boyle, lost a GOP primary for sheriff.

Catalina joined the Conservative Party after Election Day last year.

Catalina will fill the undersheriff vacancy left at the end of last year when Joseph Caracappa, former Republican Suffolk Legislature presiding officer, retired. Toulon said he will apply to the state Civil Service commission so that Catalina can receive his police pension and his full salary as undersheriff.

In 2017, Catalina made $210,958 in salary and total other pay, according to NYC Open Data.

Under state law, state and local government retirees under age 65 are limited to making $30,000 a year on a local government payroll if they are also receiving a state pension.

To earn more, they must get a waiver from the Civil Service commission. Waivers are limited to two years but can be renewed and are only given if the agency cannot find another candidate who is qualified for the post. Sheriffs officials say they got more than 30 applicants for the undersheriff’s job.

Toulon said Catalina has strong credentials as former commanding officer of the NYPD’s police intelligence bureau and for two years served as commanding officer of the department’s gang division. Catalina was the unanimous choice of a five-member screening committee, Toulon said.

Catalina will be responsible for the sheriff’s gang unit and oversee administration, the training academy and deputy sheriff operations.

Toulon also announced that Steve Kuehhas, the other undersheriff, will remain in his position.

Kuehhas, a Yaphank Republican, is a former bureau chief in the Suffolk district attorney’s office. His mother, Peggy Kuehhas, once was secretary to former GOP Suffolk County Executive Peter F. Cohalan.

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