For two weeks, a political clash kept new State Supreme Court Justice W. Gerard Asher from hiring a law secretary, Conservative and Republican party sources said. Asher sought to hire Frank Mauro, a Smithtown Conservative, who'd been his county court law secretary and worked on his campaign. But Suffolk GOP chairman John Jay LaValle wanted a Republican in the job, the sources said. Later, LaValle relented, but wanted to tie Mauro's hiring to Conservative support for Republican candidates in Huntington, they said. LaValle on Thursday called this "110 percent wrong," denying he had any objection to Mauro. But he added Suffolk Conservative chairman Edward Walshnever formally recommended Mauro to him. Walsh said he was not involved, but "it should be Asher's call." The impasse suddenly disappeared Friday - and Mauro was hired.
- Rick Brand