Suffolk County Court candidate Tim Mazzei has resigned from his Brookhaven Town Board seat with 16 months remaining in his term to hasten a special election to choose his successor.

Mazzei, 60, a Blue Point Republican who has been cross-endorsed by the Republican, Democratic, Independence and Conservative parties, said Friday he resigned early so that a special election can be held in November, rather than early next year, saving the county an estimated $100,000. His resignation from the $67,986-per-year town board post was effective at midnight Thursday.

Mazzei, a former Suffolk prosecutor who led the district attorney's homicide bureau and has been in a private law practice for 24 years, was the town board's senior member at 11 years. In an interview, he said he was proud of economic revitalization efforts in East Patchogue and his role in building and cleaning up parks throughout his southwest Brookhaven district.

"It was an opportunity to do something different with respect to my legal career, which is the pinnacle of anybody's legal career, to become a judge," he said. "I just couldn't resist the opportunity."

Mazzei's early resignation will permit political parties to name candidates by mid-September at meetings so they can be on the Nov. 4 ballot. The winning candidate will take office immediately once the election is certified and will fulfill the remainder of Mazzei's two-year term.

Jesse Garcia, Brookhaven GOP chairman, who called Mazzei's move "bittersweet," said Republicans will name Neil Foley, 46, a Patchogue pharmaceutical salesman, as their candidate to succeed Mazzei.

Anthony Parlatore, Brookhaven Democratic chairman, said the party will nominate Amy Keyes, 30, of East Patchogue, an assistant to County Executive Steve Bellone and former aide to Legis. Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue). The town's 5th District includes Patchogue Village, East and North Patchogue, Medford and parts of Lake Ronkonkoma, Holbrook, Holtsville and many Fire Island communities.

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Brookhaven officials, in a news release Friday, praised Mazzei's role in upgrading town parks and shepherding projects such as the Ronkonkoma Hub mixed-use development.

"He's participated in major decisions in this town," Supervisor Edward Romaine said. "He's been a strong advocate for his district, particularly Fire Island."