Suffolk Executive Steve Levy charged that Comptroller Joseph Sawicki threatened to withold the paycheck of the county’s top information technology aide, Gary Quinn, if Levy did not allow Sawicki access to fill vacant budgeted jobs in the county payroll system.
Levy charged the comptroller made a “blatantly illegal threat” in April by “threatening to withold his (Quinn’s) salary if I did not accede to Sawicki’s demands.”
Levy, however, declined to say whether he has referred his allegation to District Attorney Thomas Spota for investigation. ”I’m not going to comment on that," he said.
“Levy’s trying to make something out of nothing,” replied Sawicki. “He’s desperately looking to deflect attention away from his own problems with the district attorney, his decision not to run again and turn over his $4 million campaign fund.”
Sawicki said he talked to Quinn about changing the county computer system after a new law took effect allowing elected officials to fill budgeted positions without going through the county executive. Sawicki concedes he “had words” with Quinn, after he first said computers could be easily changed and then reversed himself at the last minute on Levy’s orders.
But Sawicki said he never threatened to withold Quinn’s paycheck, adding, “I have no bone to pick with Gary. He was doing the job his boss told him to do.”
Levy and Sawicki, once potential GOP rivals for county executive, have clashed for months over issues including hiring and raises, the ethics commission, and the county nursing home. Levy is also attacking Sawicki for using $500 in campaign money to attend a fundraiser by workers looking to keep John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility open. Levy said Sawicki abused his office by taking sides when he claimed to be neutral, doing audits critical of the administration’s nursing home bid process. “It’s outrageous no one is holding this guy accountable,” Levy said.
Sawicki said no one should take lame-duck Levy’s lashing out seriously.
“He’s become meaningless but he doesn’t realize it,” Sawicki said. “And in four months, he’ll be gone.”