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Feb 12, 2018 5:01 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman Eyes Run For Suffolk County Comptroller

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman
Feb 14, 2018 12:00 PM

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman is considering a run for the Suffolk County comptroller’s seat on November’s ballot.

Mr. Schneiderman, who was reelected to his second term as Southampton Town supervisor in November, said he plans to make a final decision about his possible candidacy by March. He has no plans to step down from his town post to campaign, but would do so if elected.

“A countywide post is a big deal,” Mr. Schneiderman said of the comptroller’s seat on Monday. “It represents a million and a half people. I think it’s worth taking a big look at it—and, hopefully, no one will fault me for taking a look at it.”

If he decides to run and secures a place on the ballot, Mr. Schneiderman, a Democrat, would go head to head with incumbent Suffolk County Comptroller John M. Kennedy, a Republican, this November.

Both Mr. Schneiderman, who currently makes $117,147 plus benefits annually, and Mr. Kennedy, who makes $197,681 plus benefits annually, formerly served together on the Suffolk County Legislature.

According to the comptroller’s website, the post serves as the chief investment officer for the county, administers the collection of delinquent taxes and bail, and maintains the records of the county’s 600,000 tax parcels.

Although Mr. Schneiderman said he would miss the social and community service aspects of being town supervisor, the idea of crunching numbers as comptroller excites him. “I’m a numbers guy,” he said. “I was a math minor. I’m a certified math teacher. I remember numbers—I obsess over numbers. I enjoy it.”

Mr. Schneiderman said that his potential run for county comptroller, or another higher office, had been in the “back of his mind” since at least the fall—although he stressed he hadn’t made any decisions then.

“Was I thinking last year that I might run for comptroller? It was definitely something I was thinking about,” he acknowledged.

Still, Mr. Schneiderman insisted that it had very little to do with his decision to switch his registration from the Independence Party to the Democratic Party just before the November election. “It wasn’t the principal factor,” he said. “There were other factors … going into that election.

“I’ve been caucusing with the Democrats for some time now,” he added, saying that no one asked him to change his party affiliation.

He repeatedly downplayed the move at the time, saying it was merely a “personal decision.”

During the campaign for supervisor in 2017, when the question was raised, he specifically noted that he was not planning a county run for 2018—although he added, “I’m preserving my options.”

Gordon Herr, chairman of the Southampton Town Democratic Committee, acknowledged Mr. Schneiderman’s consideration of the county comptroller’s seat but declined to comment on it on Monday.

The affiliation change late last year was not the first for Mr. Schneiderman. He was a registered Republican when he sat as East Hampton Town supervisor, and when he later moved to the Suffolk County Legislature, he changed his affiliation to the Independence Party. Mr. Schneiderman left the County Legislature in 2015 when he reached his term limit.

This is also not the first time Mr. Schneiderman has eyed the comptroller’s seat. In 2014, when Mr. Kennedy first ran, Mr. Schneiderman considered running but ultimately was not backed by Suffolk County Democratic Party Chairman Richard Schaffer. Instead, Mr. Schaffer backed James Gaughran, chairman of the Suffolk County Water Authority, who lost to Mr. Kennedy that year.

Mr. Schaffer couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on Monday.

Mr. Schneiderman said he is considering the comptroller’s seat because of his record of keeping property taxes down, his experience with budgets, and his tenure on the Suffolk County Legislature. He also pointed to his experience sitting as a supervisor of two towns, East Hampton and Southampton, and his lifelong residency in the county.

“If I want to consider the comptroller seat, I think I’d have a relatively good shot,” he said.

If Mr. Schneiderman chooses to run for county comptroller, and is elected, he would resign his supervisor post, and Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone likely would sit at the dais in Mr. Schneiderman’s place. His position would be more in line with a town manager, as he wouldn’t be able to vote with the Town Board. Mr. Zappone would serve as interim supervisor until a special election could be held to fill the position through the remainder of Mr. Schneiderman’s current term in 2019.

The move would not be unprecedented. When then-Supervisor Fred W. Thiele Jr. left his position mid-term in the mid-1990s after being elected to the State Assembly, the town’s administrator, Richard Blowes, served as acting supervisor until former Supervisor Vince Cannuscio was elected in a special election.

“The town is running very smoothly right now, so I’m not too concerned about that,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “It’s a great Town Board, and Frank certainly would be capable of chairing the board in the interim.”

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Anybody ever see a photo of the current Suffolk Comptroller? How long would he last without photo ops? Fake news...:)
By Toma Noku (616), Southampton on Feb 12, 18 6:11 PM
1 member liked this comment
What a jerk he is but you've got to hand it to him. He knows what fools the voters are.
By Babyboo (293), Hampton Bays on Feb 12, 18 6:28 PM
This guy is too much. He is the epitome of a career politician. Good riddance.
By HB90 (164), southampton on Feb 12, 18 9:22 PM
Hope he wins, GOOD RIDDANCE!
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Feb 12, 18 9:24 PM

By HamptonClassic (132), Southampton on Feb 12, 18 9:37 PM
By SpeedRacer (160), Southampton on Feb 12, 18 9:40 PM
No surprise here. Jay is for Jay. - no concern to for anyone else or for any oath o office he took. He will have to answer to a higher being someday that is not going to fall for his b.s. He has no problem leaving the Town Supervisor role to Frank Zappone who no one voted for and probably no one wants. So sad for all of us - but Babyboo is right, the voters are to blame. They think federal parties apply in local elections and issues and they listen to their alleged friends. Remember folks, ...more
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Feb 12, 18 9:42 PM
What are your qualifications for the job other than a professional politican?
By Gene10x (27), Southampton on Feb 12, 18 10:34 PM
Sounds like another Herr-Brained Scheme!
By DisgustedHamptons (58), Hampton Bays on Feb 13, 18 4:15 AM
Wow. Never saw that one coming... I figured the Democrat affiliation was for federal office.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Feb 13, 18 4:46 AM
Makes sense. Time to stop pussyfooting around and get the county funds to your friends. Cha-Ching!!
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Feb 13, 18 5:03 AM
The two years he has been Town Supervisor, the Town budget went up almost 10% - almost $10 million dollars - for what? Top heavy patronage jobs - He actually believes that being a certified math teacher is a qualification. - yeah teaching about the sum of the angles of a trapezoid really matters.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Feb 13, 18 6:53 AM
I'm not a fan of Mr. Schneiderman, but he doesn't set the Hampton Bays school budget -- the voters in the school district allow the rampant union salary increases and benefits. Vote down the $50 million/year budget and replace the school board with fiscally conservative representatives and you'll see property taxes go down. Or take the money spent filing "claims" and instead book Jay's hotel in Montauk -- and then give the residents of the Cove $3000 each to move there. That would be interesting.
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Feb 13, 18 10:43 AM
1 member liked this comment
"I was a math minor." smh
By dhehyo (11), Southampton on Feb 13, 18 7:05 AM
It’s a $200k salary... and the deputy comptroller is a CPA. Sounds like a dream job for Jay. He is, allegedly, a “numbers guy” after all. Those sound like good numbers.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Feb 13, 18 7:35 AM
I seriously hope all of those people that voted for Jay, Julie and Tommy John based on their friends' advice take a look at who got jobs with pensions, who wants better paying jobs with better pensions, while the voters are struggling to pay their bills and school taxes. Think about who these people say they are fighting for with your votes. You are being made a fool of by your alleged friends.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Feb 13, 18 8:08 AM
Actually, no.
By East End 2 (151), Southampton on Feb 13, 18 8:53 AM
Run Jay run, see jay run, away from here...
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Feb 13, 18 10:06 AM
I don't need to state the obvious that Southampton is in Suffolk County, right? He is not going anywhere. I hear that Brad Bender is running for Town Council. Any truth to that? What about Bridget running for Town Supervisor...oh wait maybe Julie Lofstad since she has been in office for all of 1 /12 years so she is completely qualified to run for higher office too. You really can't make this up.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Feb 13, 18 10:56 AM
It's normal in the private sector for people to hold a position for 1-3 years and move on to greener pastures shortly thereafter, why wouldn't politicos do it?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 13, 18 11:00 AM
What private sector are you talking about? Yes, some opportunistic people do that but they usually reach their level op incompetence pretty quickly (the Peter Principle).
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Feb 13, 18 12:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
Law firms are one good example; If you're not on a partnership track by your third year, then you must choose between satisfaction with your current state in life or taking a leap.

Similarly, one does not stay a cashier their whole life, but parlays that experience into greater responsibilities.

Likewise, why would you stay a bricklayer if you could become a foreman?

Everyone should always be looking for opportunities to improve their professional outlook, especially at ...more
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 13, 18 1:48 PM
You cannot compare private sector with public sector. That is my point. You get and keep the job because you are qualified and often fired at will. To your point, you need a law degree to be hired by a law firm and then you need to pass the bar to show aptitude. Some large firms have an "up or out" policy and some don't. To your point, some brick layers are really good at laying bricks and really can't be a foreman and when promoted they fail miserably and usually fired. Except for Councilperson ...more
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Feb 13, 18 2:35 PM
I was just answering your question. The fact is that it's a part and parcel of professional life to take on greater responsibility for greater reward.

The only difference here is that elected officials don't have traditional performance targets or reviews; those who evaluate their performance and offer them promotions are we the voters.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 13, 18 2:58 PM
Fore, public service is not meant to be a career.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Feb 13, 18 3:04 PM
Law enforcement is public service, why wouldn't a patrol cop want to become Chief one day?
Feb 13, 18 3:14 PM appended by Fore1gnBornHBgrown
"strive to" is a better word-choice.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 13, 18 3:14 PM
The problem is that "we the voters" are not often informed about the issues and sometimes, except for career politicians and opportunists, and those that may have had some local advocacy, we don't have a large pool of candidates for Town Government. They then surround themselves with patronage positions. I think I heard Councilperson Lofstad speak 20 words in the 2 years she has been on the Town Board. Sadly, the Hills project became a political pawn in a re-election campaign instead of being ...more
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Feb 13, 18 3:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
It's definitely true that the electorate and candidates both have their shortcomings but nobody says democracy is the way to elect the best leader, it's simply the fairest.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 13, 18 3:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
Fore, another one of those, "you know what I meant" replies. Public office, one you are voted into, is not meant to be a career. Based on how you dance around replies I have no doubt you would be a great, long serving politician;).
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Feb 13, 18 4:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
Sorry, mate. I can't read minds, but thank you for clarifying: you don't think elected office should be a career choice.

Presumably a person has a career before getting elected (otherwise "what qualifies you?" would have a pretty short, unfavorable answer) and puts that career on hold to run for public office. So how long is too long in elected office, in your opinion?

Is there any downside to such a limit? Do we only want candidates who can afford to take an extended hiatus from ...more
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 13, 18 4:50 PM
What does "political pawn" even mean? Most voters did not want another major golf course development on our aquifer and voted accordingly. And if the Fire Districts and School Boards held their elections on election day instead of scheduling their elections for their own convenience instead of the voters I'd think you'd see better governance on the East End all around.
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Feb 13, 18 6:03 PM
No, I do not think elected office should be a career choice.

One only needs to study our House and Senate to see the need for term limits. Of course there are exceptions but when you have someone jumping around local supervisor positions, to county legislator positions, back again and now contemplating a run for another county position it stinks.

When a politician decides to make it a career to stay in elected office, his or her only job is to get re-elected.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Feb 13, 18 8:56 PM
I think we need a "Recall Law" in New York State. That way the People can hold more sway.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Feb 15, 18 7:35 AM
1 member liked this comment
Elected office should not be a career move. Public service is.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Feb 13, 18 10:29 PM
This would be a "free run" for the Supervisor. If he wins, he walks away from his current job and the deputy supervisor takes over. If he loses, he still has the supervisor's position. For the public, it means the supervisor is not going to be giving his full attention to the position he was just reelected to 3 short months ago. A race for a county wide seat will be extremely time consuming outside the Town of Southampton if he expects to be successful. If a primary is necessary, it will become ...more
By roverton (64), Westhampton on Feb 14, 18 12:18 PM
1 member liked this comment
I wish Mr. PDD Schneiderman runs for Comptroller and wins. It is the only way we, the voters of Southampton Town, can get rid of this opportunist, once and for all. Now ALL THE EYES of Suffolk County will be watching.

RUN JAY RUN ....far away, PLEASE .
By SpeedRacer (160), Southampton on Feb 14, 18 3:05 PM
This is a lose lose - we will have a Supervisor running for office (not like he is always running for office). I don't need to state the obvious that Southampton is in Suffolk County and he is not going anyway and we are left with Frank Zappone. He is a has been from ATH reign and got 3 votes when he ran for the Town Board.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Feb 14, 18 3:39 PM
It's time For Christine Scalera to take over the Supervisors position as she is the most qualified to run the town of southampton.
By taxpayer1 (72), Southampton on Feb 14, 18 5:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
Has been for quite awhile. We can only hope!
By Roughrider28 (80), southampton on Feb 15, 18 3:23 PM
Taxpayers in Hampton Bays can no longer afford their local property taxes. We will learn by the end of 2018 whether the elimination of over $10,000 local tax deduction jeopardizes the richer school districts further East. In any event, the Town Board doesn't set school district budgets, which are getting eaten alive by pension costs and healthcare, e.g. Eastport. Not much we can do about pensions which are mandated by the State of Governor Cuomo. We can, and should, get out of the healthcare ...more
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Feb 15, 18 5:58 AM
Imagine if you lived in Riverhead or Brookhaven. You'd already be unable to afford your taxes. For the last decade or so...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Feb 15, 18 7:29 AM
Hampton Bays school? Lmao talk about crazy a superintendent learning on the job with a runaway budget
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Feb 19, 18 11:13 PM
1 member liked this comment