Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has been giving Suffolk Democratic chairman Richard Schaffer the silent treatment for more than a month, according to high level party and county sources.
A pouting Bellone has not spoken to the party leader since the election of Legis. DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) as presiding officer, sources say. The county executive is miffed because he wanted Legis. Louis D’Amaro and blames Schaffer for “not using his political capital” to make it happen.
However, Schaffer, a former county lawmaker, let the Democratic caucus pick their leader on their own. Several sources say D’Amaro had little support, in large measure, because he was part of the 2009 GOP plot to oust late Presiding Officer William Lindsay.
Some sources say Bellone wants to oust Schaffer, county leader since 2000, and install Robert Stricoff, the Babylon town Democratic chair and head of the town Industrial Development Agency. Schaffer's current two year term is up in September.
Bellone aide Jon Schneider denied a rift or that the county executive has put Schaffer in a cone of silence, though he could not say when last they spoke. “Generally speaking I don’t think they are talking any more or less than ever before. They’ve always been tight,” he said. “There’s love and harmony in all corners of Babylon.”
Schaffer also dismissed concerns, saying he and Bellone are "on the same page." He added:. “Most of the time, political leaders get accused of talking to much to elected officials.”