Veteran Nassau County Legis. Francis X. Becker Jr. (R-Lynbrook) has decided against running for re-election this fall after serving 20 years on the county legislature.
But don't call it retirement, Becker, 62, said Wednesday. "I'm just moving on to something else for the moment. I'm not going away. I'm not retiring."
He said he may take a part-time role in the administration of County Executive Edward Mangano, but no position or salary has been determined. A senior official said the administration will explore Becker's request when his term is up in December.
"I'm still going to be around in some capacity," Becker said. "I do love government. It's in my blood; government and public service. The ability to run for future political office, I would enjoy doing that. It's not really a retirement in any way."
Nassau Republicans Wednesday night nominated C. William Gaylor III, a former lieutenant colonel in the Army, to run for Becker's 6th Legislative District seat. Gaylor, 52, of Lynbrook, has served as Lynbrook's associate village justice and is a practicing attorney in Lynbrook.
The Democratic candidate for the district has not been announced.
Becker comes from a long line of Lynbrook Republican politicians. His grandfather was a congressman, his father was Lynbrook mayor, his brother was an assemblyman and his uncle was the Lynbrook GOP leader.
Francis Becker was a member of the original legislature that took office in January 1996 after voters abolished the board of supervisors and has been re-elected ever since. He twice ran unsuccessfully for Congress against former Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola.).
For 20 years, Becker and his fellow legislators' salary has remained at $39,500 a year. USinflationcalculator.com indicates that $39,500 in 1996 would be the equivalent of $61,198 in today's dollars. Lawmakers have never been able to muster the votes needed to hike their pay.
Becker said the salary is a "frustration" but said it's not the reason he's leaving. "I've been honored to serve," he said.
Becker said he will continue to work in his family business, Becker and Associates, as an insurance and financial services professional.