On Friday 13th we had as our guest speaker Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta. Mr. Trotta was quite direct in his opinions of the local government.
He was critical of the way we are paying dearly for our police department in the county. He does not approve policeman earning $200k or $250k per year. He does not approve of the payout practices of the police department at retirement that can be in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars in a lump sum in addition to a generous pension.
Of course the payouts are legal because they are in the union contracts and the contracts are approved by the legislating body of which he is a member.
Here is Trotta’s bone of contention. If the unions are allowed to donate to the campaign war chests of the legislators, how can we be sure that they, the legislators, are acting in the public interest?
Trotta’s approach is that if any funds are provided to a legislator, than that legislator must recuse himself on votes on pay increases. The bill to enforce such a rule has been consistently rejected
Despite these criticisms he was otherwise complimentary of the police in terms of competence.
Another issue that he addressed was the ¼% tax on the sewer district that has been paid off, but still collected to pay for other things. For this a few other things he referred to County Executive Bellone as corrupt.
One of those things were the scandal involving District attorney Spota, who, by the way, was sentenced to 5 years in prison last week. Bellone, according to Mr. Trotta, was in cahoots with the principals of that scandal, Thomas Spota, and Christopher McPartland, who conspired to protect James Burke, who was earlier sentenced to 4 years in prison for beating a prisoner.
Trotta did not dodge and weave, he answered the questions according to his knowledge and perceptions.