Suffolk County Legislator Anthony Piccirillo, chairman of a special committee...

Suffolk County Legislator Anthony Piccirillo, chairman of a special committee to probe the cyberattack on county computer systems, speaks at a news conference Monday. Credit: Barry Sloan

Suffolk Legis. Kevin McCaffrey, the Republican leader of the County Legislature, on Monday announced the names of six county lawmakers who will serve on a special committee to investigate the Sept. 8 cyberattack on county government computer systems.

The panel will have four Republicans and two Democrats and will be led by Legis. Anthony Piccirillo (R-Holtsville).

The other members are McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst);  James Mazzarella (R-Moriches); Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga); Jason Richberg (D-West Babylon), the minority leader; and Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai).

“The best disinfectant is sunlight,” Piccirillo said at a news conference in Hauppauge. “We're going to open the windows and let that sun in here to shine, and make sure that we get the truth.”

The special panel will probe the origins of the hack, which disrupted a range of county services, delaying payments to vendors and preventing access to county emails.

Recently, county officials revealed that the driver’s license numbers of 470,000 people had been exposed as well as 26,000 Social Security numbers belonging to county employees and retirees.

County officials have said little about what caused the attack, citing a forensic examination of county computer systems and a law enforcement investigation.

McCaffrey has said the new committee will not interfere with the law enforcement investigation.         

The panel is expected to meet beginning in 2023, but legislators did not say when it will release a final report on its findings.

Last month, the full  Legislature voted to give the panel subpoena power and granted committee members the ability to administer oaths and compel production of books, papers and witnesses related to the investigation.

Marykate Guilfoyle, a spokeswoman for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, said Bellone supports the committee's efforts to determine what went wrong. 

"We applaud the legislature’s commitment to move forward with a bipartisan review of the cyberattack … ," she said.        

Piccirillo stressed the legislature’s independence from the county executive’s office in the investigation.

"We are partners in restoration with the county executive’s office, but we are not partners in this investigation,” Piccirillo said.

“This is a coequal branch of government. Separation of powers is here, in this body, to do the investigation … [with] oversight of the executive branch or any member of government that may have played a role here,"

McCaffrey said the committee soon will hire outside legal counsel to guide it in the process.

The panel also will consider a report Sunday in Newsday that it took the county more than four hours to shut down its systems after the intrusion was discovered by a computer manager in the Suffolk County Clerk's Office.

The committee's findings will "serve as a model for other municipalities out there to make sure that they can look at this and say, 'these are the best practices,'” McCaffrey said.

“We want to make sure it doesn't happen to us again,” he said.

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