Christmas-themed subplot plays out in Suffolk executive race

An unexpected issue has become a subplot in the Suffolk County executive contest. It began when, in a budget-cutting move, County Executive Steve Levy (R-Suffolk)

WEST ISLIP - An unexpected issue has become a subplot in the Suffolk County executive contest.

It began when, in a budget-cutting move, County Executive Steve Levy (R-Suffolk) axed $660 to have David McKell play Santa Claus for a 10th-straight year at the historic St. James General Store.

Steve Bellone, a Democrat who is running for the seat being vacated by Levy, announced he was donating his own money to pay for the Santa to be reinstated.

But Bellone's Republican opponent, Angie Carpenter, immediately criticized that as a cheap publicity gimmick.

Republicans have also suggested Santa's firing may have been a set-up. They cite a memo from Bellone's wife, Deputy County Parks Commissioner Tracey Bellone, to Levy's office. The memo asks if the county's budget director is OK with the Santa contract being renewed.

Carpenter says it gives the appearance that Tracey Bellone was hoping to get Santa fired so her husband could step in and play the hero.

Bellone says the only reason his wife sent the memo regarding the Santa position was because Levy's office had directed department heads to review all outside contracts the county had.

Newsday Voters Guide

Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Top 5 Must See

The Roosevelt community came together Saturday to honor 1 Roosevelt community honors fallen war hero
A pedestrian was struck by a car and 2 Pedestrian struck by car, killed in Ronkonkoma
Police say Antonio Smith shot another man several 3 Freeport man facing charges in January shooting
Anyone with information is urged to call Nassau 4 Police: Men break into home, rob woman in Roslyn Heights
Police say 14-year-old Nicolo Signore was hit while 5 Teen fatally struck by car in Miller Place

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Features

Each week, News 12's Doug Geed explores the Check out fun things to do on the East End!

Explore the Twin Forks with News 12's Doug Geed.

Each week a different shelter visits News 12 Dog Day Fridays Series

Each week a different shelter visits News 12 Long Island with pets up for adoption.

News 12 digs deep to find Long Island's Discover Long Island's Hidden Past

News 12's Danielle Campbell digs into Long Island's roots.

News 12's Lily Stolzberg sees how much Long On The Spot

News 12's Lily Stolzberg sees how much Long Islanders know about everything and anything.

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE