Republican District Attorney candidate Ray Perini is accusing his Democratic opponent, Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini, of using his government office to campaign after a police department employee sought a meeting with the Three Village Chamber of Commerce late last month.
Perini made the charge after a $81,223-a-year government liaison asked the chamber for a speaking appearance for Sini on June 27, six weeks after Sini announced his candidacy.
“Commissioner Sini would like the opportunity to meet with members of your organization to introduce himself, tell you about his priorities and the initiatives he’s been rolling out at the Suffolk County Police Department, hear about the work you do and what’s important to your community,” wrote the aide, Kerri Ann Souto.
Perini said: “It’s obvious this is not about Tim being commissioner. This is a meeting with civic groups to promote his run for DA. Now he’s using taxpayer money to run his campaign.” He called Souto a “political operative” because she had worked for County Executive Steve Bellone’s 2015 campaign, according to state campaign finance records.
Assistant Police Commissioner Justin Meyers said Sini is looking to talk to businesses about a crime-prevention program. The department had sent “hundreds” of emails to community groups as part of an effort to make the department more accessible, although he said the number of solicitations since Sini announced his election efforts weren’t immediately available.
“This is business as usual. He’s just doing his job as police commissioner,” Meyers said. “The notion he should stop doing his job is outrageous.”
If anything, the office has done “a little bit less” outreach over the past month and a half because of trips to Washington, D.C., and other scheduling issues, he said. He said Souto is not working on any campaign and called her “a phenomenal community outreach professional.”
Sini has not held any public campaign events so far and did not attend his first fundraiser. Besides the Democratic line, he has the Conservative, Working Families and Independence lines. Perini has the Republican and Reform party lines.