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Barry Paul approved as Suffolk County treasurer

Barry Paul has been approved as the new

Barry Paul has been approved as the new Suffolk County Treasurer following a vote by the county legislature on Tuesday, March 24, 2015. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

The Suffolk County Legislature has approved a top aide to County Executive Steve Bellone as the new county treasurer.

Barry Paul, 57, of Patchogue, who was approved late Tuesday night, pledged to reduce the backlog in property tax refund payments, and said he won't run in November when the job is up for election.

Paul replaces Angie Carpenter, who was appointed as Islip supervisor on March 1. All Republicans opposed him except Legis. Thomas Barraga (R-West Islip).

Republicans argued that the treasurer's office could be managed temporarily by longtime Chief Deputy Treasurer Douglas Sutherland to save money.

In sometimes testy exchanges with Republican lawmakers, Paul defended his work with Bellone's performance management team over the past three years.

The treasurer's office is set to be merged with the county comptroller's office on Jan. 1, 2018. Legislative Minority Leader Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst) has introduced a bill to move up the consolidation to Jan. 1, 2016.

Paul said he will need 30 to 60 days to evaluate the treasurer's office and the merger.

Paul's salary in his old position was $132,000. His new position has an annual salary of $187,000.

In other business, the legislature:

Unanimously approved Vincent M. Mezzanotte as county information technology commissioner. Mezzanotte has worked as an information technology executive for both the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North. Mezzanotte, 56, of West Islip, will make $150,000 a year.

Agreed to spend $79,000 to study whether discharge from the Millstone nuclear power plant in Connecticut is warming Long Island Sound.

Bill sponsor Legis. Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk) said he believed the discharge of billions of gallons of heated water a day impacts the Sound and nearby Peconic Bay.The study will be done by Stony Brook University scientists.

Upheld Bellone's veto of a bill that would have required the county to upgrade its phone system so that users could dial 911 directly, without dialing 9 first.

All Democratic lawmakers voted against overriding the veto except Legis. Kara Hahn (D-Setauket). Bellone said the bill would have cost $165,000. Administration staff said they had negotiated the price from phone carrier Verizon down from $220,000.

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