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Brian Macri elected head of Suffolk's largest municipal union

Brian Macri has been elected president of the Suffolk Association of Municipal Employees by a wide margin, ousting current president Dan Farrell, who came in last in the crowded six-way race to head the county's largest municipal union.

Macri, a forensic scientist for the county who had touted his outsider status, received 994 votes, according to tallies released Tuesday. His entire slate, which was unattached to the existing union board of directors, was elected.

Christopher Cuddihy and retiree Debbie Aloncius ran second and third, with 793 votes and 565 votes, respectively. Farrell received 146 votes.

"I think I got my message across that we have to look to the future and not deal in the past," said Macri, 50, of Mount Sinai. "It's a new beginning and we have to begin mending bridges and do a lot of healing."

A spokesman for the Cuddihy slate said they are weighing a potential challenge through the union or in court over reports of voting irregularities, including that retirees, who are not allowed to vote, got ballots. The spokesman said members of the slate also felt the election outcome may have been skewed by computer hacking that led to emails attacking their team.

Macri for the past decade had been unit president of the predominantly white-collar 108-member medical examiner's office. He has worked for the county since 1997.

Union executive vice president Michael Finland, who ran fourth for president on a slate made up of board members who defected from Farrell, blamed Farrell's leadership for tarring the rest of the board.

"We were all lumped together," said Finland. "The prevailing message from the county workforce is that they felt it was time for a clean sweep."

Farrell blamed his loss not on his record but on "the six defectors who have been trashing . . . me for the past year. It was an emotional vote by members."

Farrell said he will assist Macri and his slate, saying he "will do everything I can to move the transition along."

Brian Kelly, a former union vice president trying for a comeback, came in fifth with 311 votes.

Election turnout was 3,256 compared with about 3,800 in the previous union election. Macri's three year term as president will begin July 1.

The election came after months of infighting and court battles.

Farrell had maintained that he got a no-layoff clause in the most recent county contract and cut $1.1 million in union expenses.

Critics said Farrell was unable to block layoffs, and cited a provision that will force union members to accept another lag payroll -- deferral of two weeks' pay until they retire -- before the end of next year. Deputy County Executive Jon Schneider congratulated Macri and said, "County executive [Steve] Bellone looks forward to reaching out and working together on behalf of all county residents."

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