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Oct 30, 2018 11:49 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Jay Schneiderman Faces Off Against John Kennedy For Suffolk County Comptroller Seat

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman is running for Suffolk County Comptroller. GREG WEHNER
Oct 30, 2018 2:00 PM

With a week to go until Election Day, the race for Suffolk County comptroller between Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, a Democrat, and incumbent Republican John M. Kennedy is heating up—and some are wondering what would happen in Southampton if Mr. Schneiderman wins.

Mr. Schneiderman said if he gets elected, the town’s deputy supervisor, Frank Zappone, would take the helm and begin chairing Town Board meetings while also setting the agenda beginning on January 1, although he would not be able to vote with the other board members. In March, Mr. Schneiderman said, a special election would be held to permanently fill the seat.

Southampton Town Attorney James Burke did not respond to questions about whether Town Board members are required to hold a special election to fill Mr. Schneiderman’s post.

Mr. Schneiderman, who is also endorsed by the Working Families, Women’s Equality and his self-made Protect the Taxpayer lines, failed to get the endorsement of the Independence Party, which he had been a member of for several years before changing his affiliation to Democrat last year.

He said on Friday that he is more than qualified to serve as the fiscal watchdog for the county.

“It’s a powerful position,” he said, pledging that as comptroller he would rid the county of wasteful spending, corruption and misappropriations.

During his time serving the public as town supervisor of both Southampton and East Hampton, and as a Suffolk County legislator, Mr. Schneiderman said he was involved in 19 budgets that did not raise taxes and helped raise both towns to AAA bond ratings.

“I’ve been in office for 19 years,” he said. “People know me. I know the county well, having grown up in Hauppauge.

“It would [also] be good to have an East Ender in countywide government,” he added.

Mr. Schneiderman's Republican opponent, Mr. Kennedy, is running for reelection with the Conservative, Independence and Reform party lines as well, and said that the race with Mr. Schneiderman has been “cordial.”

Both men served together as county legislators before moving into other positions. While Mr. Schneiderman went on to become the Southampton Town supervisor, Mr. Kennedy moved on to serve as the county comptroller—he’s now seeking his second four-year term.

Since taking office, Mr. Kennedy said he has stopped out-of-control borrowing and expenditures. He’s also helped shut down two homeless houses and helped nab Frederick Marsilio, the co-owner of four Beach Hut bars in Suffolk County, for not paying $295,958 in sales tax on $3.4 million in unreported sales between 2012 and 2016.

Mr. Kennedy also said he watched over the merger between the county treasurer and comptroller offices and saved the county over $1 million in salary.

“Our job is to audit and determine what’s going on,” Mr. Kennedy said. “All I see is chaos, mayhem and complete crumble of government.”

Mr. Schneiderman agrees that the spending is out of control and said he wants to help the county with what he describes as “serious fiscal challenges” and a budget with “a structural imbalance.”

“I could point out where there’s waste and how things could be done more efficiently,” he said. “I could address assumptions that are not based on reality or budgetary gimmicks that could get reversed by a court … or actions that could have a serious impact on sales tax.”

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Vote for Jay to get him out of Southampton.
By A Great American (103), East Quogue on Oct 30, 18 5:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
But then we have Zappone at the helm? Not a good solution.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Oct 30, 18 6:09 PM
Never voting for anyone attached to Cuomo!!
By blbandit (21), Southampton on Oct 31, 18 6:12 AM
Jay needs a job, get him out of politics...
Jay can't pull his own party, go figure???
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Oct 31, 18 8:46 AM
Not exactly accurate. My understanding (as a former Southampton Town Deputy Supervisor) is that the Town Board, by simple majority vote, could appoint an acting Supervisor in place of the current Deputy Supervisor, if it is so inclined. That's what happened when Richard Blowes became Acting Supervisor (although a little different since there was no Deputy Supervisor at the time).
By Robert I Ross (250), Hampton Bays on Oct 31, 18 11:28 AM
with four left on the board might not be a "simple majority" robert. why don't you volunteer?-you seem to like to bloviate endlessly- you'd be perfect!
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Oct 31, 18 6:11 PM