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Suffolk County Legislature picks Calarco as new leader

Robert Calarco (D-Patchogue) is sworn in as presiding

Robert Calarco (D-Patchogue) is sworn in as presiding officer of the Suffolk County Legislature on Thursday. Credit: Danielle Silverman

The Suffolk County Legislature appointed a new leadership team Thursday, promoting Legis. Robert Calarco (D-Patchogue) to presiding officer and Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) to deputy.

Calarco, who was deputy presiding officer, takes the reins from former Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Copiague), who is resigning from the legislature Jan. 15.

Calarco said he is committed to growing downtowns, investing in public transportation and improving water quality. He also said he will launch a diversity committee this year to promote fair access to housing and county jobs.

Republicans Legis. Robert Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) and Legis. Anthony Piccirillo (R-Holtsville), the only new legislator this term, voted against the promotions, saying they are concerned about the county’s poor finances and wasteful spending.

Calarco acknowledged the county's financial position is "tenuous" and said legislators must pay attention to the economy, which impacts county revenues.  

Also at Thursday's meeting — which was attended by U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and County Executive Steve Bellone — all 18 legislators were sworn in for a two-year term.

County lawmakers also appointed Lance Reinheimer to director of the nonpartisan Budget Review Office. Reinheimer, who most recently served as executive director of the county Vanderbilt Museum and previously spent 20 years in the Budget Review Office, will replace Robert Lipp, who retired earlier this year.

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