Suffolk County Legis. Robert Trotta speaks to reporters outside federal...

Suffolk County Legis. Robert Trotta speaks to reporters outside federal court in Central Islip in 2019. Credit: Barry Sloan

Suffolk County Legis. Rob Trotta has been taken off the legislature’s public safety committee after calls from the county’s largest municipal workers union and its largest police union for his removal.

The move was announced Monday in a brief statement by Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst), the presiding officer of the legislature, along with a statement from Trotta (R-Fort Salonga).

Suffolk’s Police Benevolent Association as well as the Association of Municipal Employees have called for Trotta to leave the position in recent weeks. The AME also asked that he be removed from all committee seats.

The PBA’s tense relationship with Trotta, a frequent critic of the union, which he says has outsized political influence, further deteriorated in January when he threatened to play an audio recording of a private conversation he said he had with Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison.


  • Suffolk County Legis. Rob Trotta was taken off the legislature’s Public Safety Committee after the county’s largest police union and the largest municipal workers union called for his removal.
  • The unions were angered when Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) threatened to play a recording of a private conversation he said he had with county Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison.
  • Legis. Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst), presiding officer of the Suffolk County Legislature, announced Trotta's removal from the committee on Monday.

“Due to recent events and the fact that I do not want this to be a distraction from the important work the committee does, I am taking Legislator Trotta off the public safety committee,” McCaffrey said in his statement.

In February, after an intense two-week push by the PBA, McCaffrey said he had asked Trotta leave the Public Safety Committee.

Trotta said the pressure was the union's attempt "to control the county legislature, which we will not allow them to do."

He was still on the committee as of last Thursday, when it had been scheduled to meet. The meeting was canceled, with no official reason given.

Seven other legislators sit on the committee, which has jurisdiction over the county’s police department and other law enforcement agencies.

Trotta, a former Suffolk County police detective, has repeatedly accused the police union of various campaign-related violations such as using member dues to fund political activity.

The PBA has said it is operating within the rules and that Trotta has misread the law.

In a statement Monday, Trotta said: “It is the Presiding Officer’s prerogative to determine the membership of all committees. I have brought my concerns to most law enforcement agencies at all levels of government and, to date, no one has acted on my complaints. Therefore, since those agencies have not determined any wrongdoing, I will now focus all my time and energy on representing the other issues important to the constituents of 13th legislative district.”

Both McCaffrey and Trotta declined to comment beyond their statements.

The PBA Monday praised McCaffrey’s decision. 

“I would like to thank the Presiding Officer and caucus for taking the necessary steps to ensure the work of government can move forward without obstruction,” Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association president Noel DiGerolamo said in a statement.

“Hopefully we can all move forward doing the most important role of government which is ensuring public safety,” DiGerolamo said.

AME president Dan Levler, who said the recording could make other county employees fear private conversations could be used against them, said he was pleased with McCaffrey's presiding officer's decision.

In response, Trotta last week said the recording was intended to "expose corruption that takes raises and funds away from our county workers."

“Our members are entitled to work in an environment where they don't have to fear having their conversations with government officials being recorded without their knowledge,” Levler said in a statement.

“Moving forward, it is our hope that this move will also send a clear message that this type of clandestine behavior by our elected officials will not be condoned," Levler said. 

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