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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Ex-Suffolk union leader hired as part-time legislative aide

The former president of the Suffolk County Correction Officers Association was hired as a part-time legislative aide by newly-elected Legis. Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset).

Vito Dagnello, who lost his union reelection bid in January, began working for Kennedy this month in the 17-hour-a week job, which pays $26,492 a year.

“He knows the district,” Kennedy said. “He knows the legislature. He knows how to connect and interact with most of the legislators.”

Dagnello retired from his corrections-officer job Jan. 31, and will also collect a pension, which the state comptroller’s office said has not been calculated yet. Dagnello is allowed to make up to $30,000 while collecting his pension without a waiver, under state pension rules.

Dagnello said he didn’t plan to seek a waiver to be paid more.

“I’m serving my community. This is where I live, people I live around, where I raised my kids,” he said.

Dagnello had screened with Smithtown Republicans to run for the 12th Legislative District seat, which covers most of Smithtown, after Legis. John M. Kennedy Jr. was elected county comptroller. Republicans instead picked Leslie Kennedy,  Kennedy’s wife and his longtime aide.

She won election March 31 with 86 percent of the vote over a Democratic candidate.

Leslie Kennedy has also retained Ali Nazir, who was her husband's chief of staff, as her full-time aide.

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