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Suffolk lawmakers balk at bill to shrink elected officials

Suffolk Legis. William Lindsay III (D-Bohemia) is seen

Suffolk Legis. William Lindsay III (D-Bohemia) is seen on May 20, 2015. Credit: James Escher

A Suffolk legislative committee effectively killed a bill last week that would have shrunk the county legislature from 18 elected officials to 13.

The Ways and Means Committee voted 4-1 without comment to table the law “subject to call,” which removes the bill from regular consideration. It is a rarely used parliamentary maneuver on proposals that draw lawmakers’ ire.

The bill would have put a referendum on November’s ballot on whether to reduce the legislature following the 2020 U.S. Census.

William Lindsay III (D-Bohemia), sponsor of the bill, estimated the move would have saved $2.5 million a year in reduced offices and staff.

“I’m disappointed it didn’t get an opportunity to come before the full legislature for a debate,” Lindsay said.

Legis. Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue), the deputy presiding officer, noted after the vote that civic groups had opposed the measure because fewer representatives would have meant less responsive elected officials.

He said the bill was tabled subject to call — which means it won’t be considered without a special vote — because “I don’t think we’ll be at a point where we can move it forward.”

Lawmakers last week also tabled two Republican bills against fee increases. One proposal would have repealed a $300 increase in the mortgage filing fee. Another would have put a 2 percent cap on yearly fee increases.

“It’s a defeat for the taxpayers,” Legis. Robert Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) said.

David M. Schwartz

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