Before last week’s naming of Robert Lipp as head of the legislature’s Office of Budget Review, the Bellone administration made a behind the scenes effort to wrangle a high level post for one of its budget aides, according to sources close to the selection process.
Kim Brandeau, Suffok County Executive Steve Bellone’s $113,600-a-year chief budget examiner, was not initially included among the finalists for the top post, but at the last minute was given an interview by the bipartisan committee last month.
When she was not anyone’s choice for the top spot, sources said efforts were made to get her the $134,000 a year deputy’s job. However, several lawmakers, notably minority leader Legis. John Kennedy (R-Nesconset), and DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville), opposed the move, fearing it could hurt the office’s independence. There was also lobbying from the administration to make no appointment and keep Lipp as an acting director so he would not have the security of a term that will last for another 3 1/2 years.
The sources also said Lipp, when offered the job, made clear he would not accept the $162,000 a year position unless the deputy post was his choice as stipulated by law. Lipp’s appointment was approved unanimously last week. Lipp declined comment on his talks with the selection committee but said he had not made a choice for a deputy though he expects to make an “in-house” choice from his staff.