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Scramble is on for chair of Suffolk planning commission

David Calone, former chairman of the Suffolk County

David Calone, former chairman of the Suffolk County Planning Commission, speaks during a Long Island Regional Planning Council meeting on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

A rare contested election battle has surfaced over the chairmanship of the Suffolk County Planning Commission

Nominated at last week’s Commission meeting were developer Michael Kelly, former head of the Long Island Building Association, and Huntington attorney Jennifer Casey.

Running with Kelly on an all-developer slate are Michael Finn for first vice president and Sammy Chu, a former aide to Suffolk Executive Steve Bellone, for second vice chair. Running with Casey is environmental activist Adrienne Esposito for first vice chair, her current post, and Michael Kaufman, a lawyer from Head of the Harbor.

The battle took shape after the commission voted down a shopping center proposal in Tuckahoe in Southampton, which led Kelly to walk out of the meeting. Kelly and Casey seek to succeed David Calone, who stepped down last month after five years because he is running for Congress. The final vote will be held Feb. 10.

The commission currently has 13 members, but by the time of the vote for officers, there will be two more, Errol Kitt and Nicholas Gould Morehead — if the county legislature confirms their nominations Feb. 9. Deputy County Executive Jon Schneider says the county executive is not taking a position on the election because it is an independent board.

— Rick Brand

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