HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. – Suffolk County Legislator DuWayne Gregory was reelected to a fifth term as Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer at the Legislature’s organizational meeting, held Jan. 2 in Hauppauge.
With each New Year comes opportunity, a chance to inspire change, a promise for a better tomorrow and a willingness to remain open to new ideas,” said Gregory, who is legislator for the 15th Legislative District. “The future looks bright for Suffolk County as we prepare to move into the New Year. I am excited for the journey, as I am at each new beginning, and for the prospect of making a difference. I am honored to have your support and encouraged by your confidence.
County Legislator Rob Calarco, who represents the Seventh Legislative District, was reelected Deputy Presiding Officer for a third term. Additionally, four new faces were sworn in after winning seats formerly held by term-limited legislators. Rudy Sunderman, representing the Third District, Steven Flotteron, representing the 11th District, Susan Berland, representing the 16th District, and Tom Donnelly, representing the 17th District, took oaths for their first terms.
Legislators also adopted the rules of the legislature, including changes to cut the two-hour lunch break at general meetings to 90 minutes and to limit legislators to making only one presentation per meeting to honor a community member or local group. Legislators also agreed to consider appointment resolutions first at committee meetings and to require that draft agendas of committee and general meetings be posted on the Legislature’s website at least four days before the meeting.
In his remarks, Presiding Officer Gregory outlined accomplishments and priorities for the coming year. He vowed to continue to make public safety a priority, to explore new initiatives to deal with the ongoing opioid crisis, to provide for early review of the county budget, to streamline procedures and ensure more thorough analysis, to revisit economic studies and reports to review their recommendations regarding real estate holdings, historic structures, and cost-saving measures, to solicit information and ideas from employees, commissioners and business leaders to find efficiencies, identify savings and root out fraud, and to develop a comprehensive visioning plan based on input from county departments.
The Presiding Officer added that he will continue to find new ways to battle homelessness, encourage STEM education, engage young adults through the Next Generation Advisory Council, and make Suffolk more transparent by ensuring accessibility to the Open Data website and by continuing to live stream general meetings in Hauppauge and Riverhead.
He also said there is a need to explore opportunities for more transit-oriented projects that are regionally significant, like Wyandanch Rising and the Ronkonkoma Hub, adding that the centerpiece of his priorities remains the same: bolstering the middle class by providing opportunities for good education, business, housing and jobs to support a strong economy.
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and County Executive Steve Bellone offered remarks and congratulated the legislators on the start of their terms.
Legislators also approved the reappointments of George Nolan as Counsel to the Legislature, Jason Richberg as Clerk to the Legislature, and Amy Ellis as Chief Deputy Clerk to the Legislature.
CAPTION FOR ABOVE PHOTO: DuWayne Gregory takes the ceremonial oath, administered by Hon. C. Randall Hinrichs, as Gregory’s wife, Erica, looks on. Gregory was reelected to the leadership position of presiding officer at the Suffolk County Legislature’s organizational meeting Jan. 2.