Hauppauge - (WALK) A proposal to set term limits for county commissioners could offer greater oversite, but may provoke a power struggle between the Suffolk Legislature and the county executive over police powers.
The proposal by Legislative Majority Leader Jon Cooper (D-Lloyd Harbor) permit lawmakers to appoint the police commissioner to a fixed, five-year term, subject to legislative approval. Cooper says the goal is to give his colleagues more authority over policing issues. Several other county department heads already have fixed terms, inclduing the commissioner of social services and the commissioner of health services.
County Executive Levy is reportedly opposed to the plan, as it may limit his ability to control police costs, and promises a veto if the bill reaches his desk. Levy has clashed with lawmakers over cost-cutting measures such as limiting police overtime and turning responsibility for patrolling the L.I.E. and Sunrise Highway over to the Suffolk Sheriff's Department.
Currently, the police commissioner is appointed by the county executive, and approved by the legislature for an open-ended term. Following that intitial vote the commissioner serves at the pleasure of the county executive with no legislative oversite.
A public hearing on the subject is scheduled for February 2, at the William Rogers Legislative Building in Hauppauge.