Bellone to name more Babylon appointees
December 27, 2011 by RICK BRAND / email@example.com
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone will name District Court Judge Dennis Cohen, a former Babylon town attorney, as his chief legal adviser when he takes office Sunday, along with two other Babylon aides, a transition team spokesman said Tuesday.
Cohen, 42, a West Babylon resident, will leave the bench after three years to become the county attorney. He had previously worked as Bellone's town attorney for four years. In addition, Babylon Town Attorney Paul Margiotta, 49, a Republican from Bay Shore, will become Cohen's deputy county attorney and be responsible for negotiating labor contracts. That means Margiotta takes over duties now done by the $110,000-a-year county director of labor relations.
"Every member of my team understands they will be a utility player" Bellone said. "Doing more with less means will we can't afford one-dimensional hires."
But Legis. Ricardo Montano (D-Brentwood) criticized what he sees as an overload of Babylon appointees. "It is in my opinion this is not regionally diverse," Montano said. "To me, it's not a good start. This is a big county and with [former Babylon Supervisor Richard] Schaffer becoming town supervisor, it looks like the entire county is being run from Babylon Town Hall."
Jon Schneider, transition team spokesman, said the administration will be "very balanced geographically" when fully assembled. "These are some people who helped make Steve very successful in Babylon and whom he has complete faith in," he said.
With only days to go before taking over, Bellone still hasn't named his top fiscal deputy. Party sources say that the new administration tried to recruit Tom Stokes, a member of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority and former Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi's top fiscal deputy, but Stokes turned down the offer. Schneider declined to comment on Stokes but they are "very close" to a final selection and hope to make a pick by week's end.
Bellone will also name Samuel Chu, 35, of West Babylon, who now heads the town's Green Homes program and is involved with the Wyandanch Rising Project, as county labor commissioner.
Before joining the town, he was a member of Local 3 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
In addition, Bellone will name Luis Montes, 31, of Bay Shore, an aide to Assemb. Philip Ramos (D-Central Islip) since 2003, as an assistant deputy county executive where he will lobby the state and do outreach to the Hispanic community.
Bellone will file resolutions to appoint the aides at the county legislature's Jan. 3 organization meeting and his nominees will appear at committee before the full legislature votes, which could come at the Feb. 7 meeting. Until then, they will serve in an acting capacity. Legis. Edward Romaine (R-Center Moriches) said he will support Bellone's choices: "He is entitled