Union officials were miffed this week when the Suffolk County Legislature's economic development committee for the second meeting in a row balked at moving ahead on the nomination of Laborers Local 66 lobbyist Josh Slaughter for the county Industrial Development Agency board.
Steve Flanagan, business agent for Laborer’s Local 66, accused Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and his aide Jon Kaiman of working behind the scenes to delay the nomination. Flanagan said Bellone left town before he was supposed to meet union officials to discuss the issue.
But “the only candidate you’re going to get is Josh Slaughter,” said Flanagan.
The Laborers union even put Slaughter's name in lights, parking a truck outside the legislative building with a billboard-size electric sign that read, “Labor’s choice Josh slaughter for Suffolk IDA.”
Mario Mattera of the 1,200-member Plumbers Local 200, called tabling of the measure last week, “a cop out … It’s becoming political and it shouldn’t be, because this man will do the right things for Suffolk County.”
Bellone spokesman Jason Elan said: “While this appointment was announced rather suddenly, our only interest has been to engage in a constructive dialogue with our colleagues in the legislature. We appreciate their willingness to include the County Executive’s office in this discussion and on how the IDA impacts our overall economic development goals for Suffolk County.“
Slaughter, a former legislative aide, answered committee questions for nearly a half-hour. Slaughter said he believed the IDA “runs efficiently,” but could do a better job communicating with unions and local communities and better track whether developers fulfill their commitments to create construction jobs.
Republican Legis. Robert Trotta of Fort Salonga sought the tabling of Slaughter 's nomination to see if any other names might come forward. The committee voted 5-0 to table, with Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Copiague) abstaining. Gregory sponsored the resolution to appoint Slaughter to the IDA board.
If confirmed, Slaughter would be one of two labor representatives on the seven-member IDA board, which provides tax breaks and incentives to businesses that move into the county or expand there. He would replace Peter Zarcone, a former Laborer Local 66 official, who retired from his union post.