After a handful of committees held meetings last week, a few more met this week before next Tuesday's Suffolk County Legislature meeting in Riverhead. Here is a roundup of a few things that happened:
Sawicki Rules Out a Run for County Executive - This Time Around
County Comptroller Joe Sawicki announced this week that he's choosing not to run for County Executive, as several contenders will vie for an open Republican spot on this fall's ticket following.
In a crowded Republican field that includes potential nominees from the State Senate, State Assembly, and the county ranks, the Southold resident and father of two said he and his wife came to the conclusion that the toll on the family's personal life would be a little too much.
"It would be a huge commitment from my entire family," he said. "And you can only do the job one way, and the right way - and that's basically to give 24/7 of your life to the job. In the end, I have to do what's best for my wife and I."
Sawicki, who is in the middle of his third and final (due to term limitations) term as comptroller, recalled his 11 years as a member of the Assembly as enough of a commitment. And with two children now aged 23 and 20, he said he would look forward to spending more time with his wife.
But he admitted a major part of him still wanted to run.
"It's really an honor to be considered by some party leaders, and all the people who encouraged me to run," Sawicki said. "A big chunk of me still would like to be county executive. I'm confident I could do a good job for the taxpayers."
Still, he did not rule out a run for the position in the future.
Among those still for County Executive this fall, the list includes: State Senator John Flanagan, R-Smithtown; State Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick, R- Northport; County Treasurer Angie Carpenter; and County Legislator Ed Romaine, R-Center Moriches. County Commissioner of Jurors, Michael O'Donohoe, has stated his interest to run for the Conservative Party nomination.
Levy Calls Out State on $111 Million in Overdue Funds
Levy said this week that even though State Legislators passed a budget on time, payments coming from Albany remain over $110 million behind schedule through the first quarter of 2011.
According to the county executive's "Ca$h Flow Watch," the state owes Suffolk $62 million in Health Department payments and $43 million to the Department of Social Services. Particular programs shortchanged include early intervention for children with disabilities ($8.5 million) and public health services ($27 million.)
“What is the point in adopting a budget on time if on-time payments do not follow?" Levy asked. "The fact remains that delaying local government payments is a practice that hurts taxpayers.”
Committee OK's $170k Grant for Green Jobs
After receiving word last month that the county's Department of Social Services received a $170,400 grant from the state to promote jobs in the "green" sector, the Health and Human Services Committee approved the receipt of the funds and their support to enter into a contract with a company to disburse the aid.
The grant, funded through the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, will be available for Temporary Assistance for Needy Family recipients. The goal, according to the OTDA, is to, "ensure that participants receive the necessary services to successfully transition to unsubsidized employment."
Nassau-based Education and Assistance Corporation would be the recipient of the contract, should it pass Tuesday's Suffolk County Legislature meeting.
The grant is part of a $2 million state-wide grant to "enable participants to gain skills in the green job sector, which is expected to experience future job growth," according to a memorandum from the OTDA.
Women's Groups Convene to Promote Equal Pay Between Genders
Pointing to a 17 percent pay gap between men and women - and higher disparities amongst minorities - Enterprising and Professional Women-Long Island met at the H. Lee Dennison Building in Hauppauge on Wednesday to promote gender equality.
Liz Benham, president of the international federation of Business and Professional Women, served as keynote speaker at the breakfast, which was hosted by the Suffolk County Executive's Office of Women's Services.
According to EPW, April 12 of 2011 was Equal Pay Day - the day which symbolizes how long into 2011 women had to work to equal the median 2010 salary of males.