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Brookhaven finance chief quits for Nassau job

After Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko pulled a resolution to reappoint $127,500-a-year town finance commissioner John O’Neill at last Thursday’s town board organizational meeting, the fiscal aide responded by delivering his letter of resignation Friday morning.

Saying an evaluation of department heads was overdue, Lesko held up the reappointments of 24 commissioners and deputy commissioners, who will meet with town board members by Jan. 19. The commissioners and deputy commissioners collectively earn about $2.4 million, he said.

O’Neill declined to comment Friday, but in his resignation letter he said he saved town residents “tens of millions of dollars” in the 2011 and 2012 operating budget as well as $2 million in interest costs in a $38-million refinancing of town bonds. He said in his letter he will leave the payroll Feb. 2.

O’Neill, who worked for the town for two years, had earlier worked as Nassau’s budget director under County Executives Thomas Suozzi, a Democrat, and Republican Edward Mangano. O’Neill will move to a $94,600-a-year competitive civil service job in the Nassau comptroller’s office overseeing vendor claims.

Lesko critics say the supervisor was upset that O’Neill had been interviewed by new County Executive Steve Bellone for the post of chief fiscal aide and delayed the appointment in retribution. The supervisor’s office did not return calls for comment.

“It’s unfortunate that what seems to be pettiness on some people’s part has caused Brookhaven to lose a very capable and able finance commissioner,” said GOP town board member Dan Panico.

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