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Suffolk IDA transition turns tense

Josh Slaughter, political action committee director for Laborers

Josh Slaughter, political action committee director for Laborers Local 66, has been proposed as a board member of the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency. Photo Credit: James Escher

The Suffolk County Industrial Development agency is getting a new board member, but the impending transition has turned tense.

Democrat DuWayne Gregory, presiding officer of the county legislature, has proposed former legislative aide Josh Slaughter, the political action committee director for Laborers Local 66, at the request of the union's business manager Steve Flanagan.

Flanagan wanted an active union official installed instead of keeping IDA board member Peter Zarcone, who retired from his Laborers 66 post in January.

Zarcone, 61, of Holtsville, an IDA board member for 13 years, said: “I don’t like the way it was done. I think it’s improper.”

Zarcone said he represents all of labor and the IDA post should have been opened up to all unions. “One particular trade should not be able to dictate any spot,” he said.

Flanagan said Zarcone was expressing “sour grapes” after embarrassing the union in a brief bid last year for state Assembly on the Democratic line after accepting reappointment as a planning board member in Brookhaven, a town controlled by Republicans.

“He wasn’t representing the union but representing himself as a politician,” Flanagan said of Zarcone.

Slaughter, 36, went to work for the union after a losing race for Suffolk County Legislature against Republican Rudolph Sunderman in 2017.

IDA board members, who are unpaid and serve at the pleasure of county lawmakers, vote on sales and property tax and mortgage fee breaks for businesses that make new investments and add jobs.

Sunderman said he backs Slaughter’s IDA appointment. “There’s a time for politics and a time for business. Labor and Josh support my vision for the communities I represent, so I back Josh in this endeavor,” Sunderman said.

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