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Brookhaven Republican councilman Dan Panico calls on Democrat Brian Beedenbender to resign

Democrat Brian Beedenbender at Town Hall. (Aug. 27,

Democrat Brian Beedenbender at Town Hall. (Aug. 27, 2012) Credit: James Escher

Brookhaven Republican town councilman Dan Panico is calling on Democrat Brian Beedenbender to resign after it was announced on Tuesday that he would take a leave of absence to campaign for the job of town supervisor.

The Brookhaven Democratic Executive Committee last week recommended Beedenbender as the party's candidate to replace Supervisor Mark Lesko.

Beedenbender, Lesko's chief of staff, said at Tuesday's town board meeting that he plans to use 11 weeks of vacation and leave time to run the campaign.

"He should resign," Panico said in an interview after the meeting. "If he wants to run a campaign, he should resign."

Beedenbender, who previously served a two-year term as a county legislator but lost his re-election bid, declined to comment Wednesday.

Lesko is resigning after submitting a preliminary town budget next month, to run Accelerate Long Island. In his new job, the two-term supervisor will spearhead an effort to transform the region into a launchpad for technology companies.

After he steps down, Republican Councilwoman and Deputy Supervisor Kathy Walsh will fill in as supervisor.

In the race for supervisor, Beedenbender will likely face veteran Republican Suffolk County Legis. Ed Romaine, whom Brookhaven Republican leadership recommended as the party's candidate on Monday.

Panico took issue Tuesday with the town board's send-off for Beedenbender, accusing Democratic leaders of injecting politics into a town meeting. Some verbal sparring ensued that fell along party lines.

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