Suffolk County executive Steve Levy walks with his wife, Colleen,...

Suffolk County executive Steve Levy walks with his wife, Colleen, before announcing his Republican candidacy for New York State governor outside the Capital building in Albany. (March 19, 2010) Credit: AP

One afternoon late this week, an old accordion folder traditionally passed from one Suffolk County executive to the next sat on Steve Levy's desk.

Amid office cleaning and some final vetoes of legislative spending measures, Levy -- like predecessors over five decades -- took time to stuff the folder with a note of advice to his successor, Steve Bellone.

"I'm very happy I didn't misplace it," said Levy, noting that he's "never been known to have the cleanest office in Hauppauge. This is a packet that goes back to the '50s."

Levy said his note probably would reflect the advice, "Don't ever think this is your own office . . . It's the public's, and the new guy has to know that, too."

Levy, 52, a Democrat-turned-Republican, wraps up his eight years as county executive Saturday night. He said he spent his last days in office saying goodbye to county workers and issuing a series of capital-spending vetoes, including authorizations for county road improvements.

"In more lucrative times, these would breeze right through, but right now we have to prioritize," he said.

Levy, who did not attend Bellone's inauguration on Friday, said the last measure he planned to sign seals the purchase of 150 acres of land in the Mastic-Moriches area. The properties, for which Suffolk is spending $10 million from an open space fund, had been slated for development.

"It's appropriate," Levy said, citing the more than 1,000 parcels that Suffolk purchased for preservation during his tenure.

He added that he'd be on call until 11:59 p.m. Saturday -- just in case of a major snowstorm or other catastrophe.

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