Robert Stricoff, Babylon's top economic development official, was named Thursday as the $155,000-a-year executive director of Suffolk's Industrial Development Agency, without screenings of any other candidates.
Stricoff, a close ally and major fundraiser for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, was appointed in a unanimous vote with no debate after a 25-minute executive session in Hauppauge.
The vote came after Stricoff, 44, chief of the Babylon IDA for 12 years and chairman of the town Democratic Party, earlier this month formally sought the county IDA post after consultation with Bellone and Suffolk Democratic chairman Richard Schaffer. Stricoff said he also called IDA board members personally to make a pitch for the post.
Joanne Minieri, Bellone's top economic development aide, said three or four others applied for the job but none were screened because Stricoff had far more experience. Stricoff said that as economic development chief in Babylon, he closed $880 million in deals that created 5,200 jobs and retained 5,306.
Immediately after the vote, Stricoff entered the meeting and promised to deliver "aggressive and flexible" economic development policies for the county.
"We're all partners now," Stricoff said. "I will be your tool carrying out economic development policies and programs."
Stricoff reaffirmed that he will step down as Babylon Democratic chairman when he takes the new job in September. Party officials say Peter Casserly, a town consultant, is expected to take over as town party leader. Stricoff of Oak Beach had been paid $60,000 a year in the town party position.
County Legis. Thomas Cilmi (R-Bay Shore) called Stricoff's decision to leave party leadership "appropriate." But he said, "You're fooling yourself if you think his political activities are going to cease because of this appointment."
Stricoff described himself as the architect of efforts to raise Bellone's first $1 million before he formally announced for county executive four years ago, a campaign in which Bellone ultimately raised $5 million. Stricoff said "there's nothing in the plans" for him to continue as a fundraiser for Bellone's re-election bid next year but that the issue has not been discussed.Stricoff succeeds Anthony Manetta, who in a surprise move resigned in March after nearly two years on the job.
Stricoff asked the board to delay his start date until Sept. 15 because Babylon has 17 deals pending, though he expects only to close four before departing.