The Bellone administration’s new $120,000-a-year assistant deputy county executive Errol Toulon has decided to remain as an $18,500-a-year board member of the Suffolk Water Authority after the agency’s counsel issued an opinion there is no conflict in him doing both roles.
Authority counsel Timothy Hopkins, a Republican, in a two-page opinion said the state public authorities law specifically allows board members to “hold more than one public office” as long as they are compatible. He said there are “no impermissible conflicts of interest” preventing Toulon’s job with the county, overseeing public safety issues, because it has “no area of overlap” with his post as an authority board member.
Hopkins, however, cautioned conflicts could arise and in those cases “it is imperative that conflict be avoided by declining to participate in the disposition” of such issues. The county is currently exploring a multimillion dollar authority takeover of county sewer operations. Authority officials say Toulon will recuse himself from votes on the issue.
Until Hopkins' opinion, Bellone administration officials said Toulon, hired last month, had planned to resign from authority board. However, Toulon, who is also Democratic candidate for state Senate against veteran GOP incumbent John Flanagan, has suspended his campaign since taking the county job.