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Joseph Sawicki, former Suffolk comptroller, gets police finance job

Former Suffolk County Comptroller Joseph Sawicki stands outside

Former Suffolk County Comptroller Joseph Sawicki stands outside a hearing in Hauppauge on July 22, 2013. Credit: Newsday / Jeffrey Basinger

Former Suffolk Comptroller Joseph Sawicki, a Republican who was term-limited last year, has landed a new post in the administration of Democratic County Executive Steve Bellone as assistant deputy police commissioner for finance.

Sawicki, 61, who has a state pension of $117,000 annually, will work part time. That's because state law limits retirees to $30,000 in salary from a state or local agency until they reach 65 unless they receive a waiver from the state Civil Service Commission. Bellone aides said there were no plans to seek a waiver for Sawicki to work full time.

"Getting an individual who has three decades of municipal fiscal experience -- including 12 years as Suffolk chief financial officer -- at the price of $30,000 obviously presents a tremendous value," said Justin Meyers, Bellone's spokesman.

According to documents filed with the comptroller's office Friday, Sawicki will work 48 percent of the time in a job that would normally pay $130,000 a year full time. While the position of assistant deputy police commissioner for finance has existed since the late 1980s, officials say it has been vacant for 11 years.

County Comptroller John Kennedy, a Republican, questioned the move.

"I'm curious about what the overwhelming need is, but that's the county executive's decision, not mine," he said.

Legis. Kate Browning (WFP-Shirley), the county legislature's public safety committee chairwoman, said that given a $170 million shortfall, it's not time to add upper level positions, even if they're part time.

"Joe's a nice guy, but what we are short of is worker bees who get the job done," she said.

Deputy Chief Kevin Fallon, Suffolk police department spokesman, said Sawicki "will be a great value to us. He brings a blend of experience, talent and knowledge to the department."

Meyer said Sawicki expressed interest in continuing to serve taxpayers. The police department said Mark White, chief of support services who oversaw the budget, retired two months ago. Meyers added that after an interview with the police commissioner, it was determined there "was a need and a fit. We expect a great relationship."Sawicki did not return calls for comment. He is scheduled to start work Monday.

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