Brookhaven’s Republican Receiver of Taxes Louis Marcoccia has become the first person to formally declare as a candidate for Suffolk comptroller, even though the job may go out of existence by the year’s end.
Marcoccia, 64, of East Setauket, disclosed his candidacy in letters Tuesday to Brookhaven GOP chairman Jesse Garcia and Suffolk Republican chairman John Jay LaValle. Several other potential contenders, including LaValle, have expressed interest in running but have yet to jump in. Among them are Steve Flotteron, a Republican Islip Town Board member, and attorney James Gaughran, a former county lawmaker and current chairman of the Suffolk Coutny Water Authority.
All are looking to succeed the current GOP Comptroller Joseph Sawicki, who is term-limited and cannot run for re-election.
County Executive Steve Bellone and the legislature’s Democratic majority have indicated they plan to revive a proposal, thrown out in court last year, to hold a voter referendum on merging the offices of comptroller and treasurer.
Although no new legislative resolution has been filed yet, officials say that if the referendum is approved, the plan is to have the county legislature name an appointed interim head of the merged office — possibly Sawicki — until an election for the new position can be held in November 2015.
Marcoccia said he will take no position on the referendum and let the voters decide the issue. However, he said he wants to run in case the public decides against changing the current system of having a treasurer and comptroller.
“This is a professional, not a political, position,” said Marcoccia, and said he will not only seek to screen with Republicans but plans to approach Democrats and other minor parties for support.
Marcoccia, a former computer consultant, said that his business experience along with his work as tax receiver, whose office collects $1.4 billion a year in school, town and counties property taxes, more than qualifies him for the $189,258-a-year post. He also said that since taking office, he has cut his department’s operating budget 30 percent and reduced the size of his staff from 39 to 24.
Marcoccia first won election as tax receiver in 2007 in a race against former town board member Carol Bisonette. He was re-elected with major and minor party cross-endorsements two years ago.
LaValle said he has received Marcoccia’s letter and said “it is great to see the enthusiasm and interest on our side of the aisle.” He said it shows that Republicans see “a big problem” with the way Democrats are running the county.