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Potential contenders for Babylon supervisor

Rich Schaffer, left, takes the stage with Steve

Rich Schaffer, left, takes the stage with Steve Bellone at the Democratic election night party in Hauppauge. (Nov. 8, 2011) Photo Credit: Thomas A. Ferrara

As Babylon Town Supervisor Steve Bellone began readying himself for his new job as Suffolk County executive, speculation mounted Wednesday about who would fill his town shoes.

One of the most surprising names being tossed around is the man credited with helping Bellone get elected to the county post: former Babylon Supervisor and current Suffolk Democratic Chairman Richard Schaffer.

Schaffer said several people have approached him about throwing his name into the hat, but that he was still "mulling it over." In 2000, Schaffer briefly expressed interest in Rick Lazio's congressional seat, a move many speculated was intended to buy time and avoid a primary run-off between David Bishop and Steve Israel.

Several others have expressed interest in the supervisor slot. Among the leading contenders appears to be Legis. Wayne Horsley (D-Babylon).

Horsley, a former town board member, said no one has spoken to him in an official capacity about the position, but that he gets asked about it "10 or 15 times a day." "If they're interested in me, I'm interested in them," he said.

Legis. DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) said he too was interested in being supervisor, but was deferring to Horsley. "Wayne's a friend and I support him," he said.

Bob Stricoff, head of the Babylon Democrats, said another top contender is Babylon Town board member Tony Martinez. Martinez, a Bellone appointee to the board in July 2008 who won election in November 2008, said he was happy in his current role but open to change.

According to town law, the town board must appoint a new supervisor, but can only do so once the spot is vacant, which will likely be Jan. 1, unless Bellone decides to vacate early. A majority of the four board votes is required for the appointment. If a majority is achieved, the appointment lasts until the next Election Day. If the board deadlocks, the governor can step in and require a special election, and the Deputy Supervisor would serve as acting supervisor.

The last time the town board appointed a supervisor was in September 1992 when supervisor Arthur Pitts resigned to take a judgeship and deputy supervisor Thomas Melito was appointed acting supervisor. Schaffer, then a Suffolk legislator, was elected supervisor less than two months later.

With Nicholas Spangler


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