Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko is stepping down to run the Accelerate Long Island project.
Richard Schaffer, chairman of the Suffolk Democratic Party, told Patch Wednesday afternoon that Lesko’s resignation will become official Sept. 14.
In a written statement released on Wednesday, Lesko said he joins Accelerate Long Island with the goal of implementing a strategy to create an innovation-based economy on Long Island.
“It is my hope that Accelerate Long Island will have a profound economic impact on the entire region for years to come,” he added.
Kathleen Walsh, deputy Town Supervisor and a Republican, said of Lesko, “Together, we worked in a bipartisan fashion to hold the line on property taxes and ensure that Town government is always doing the very best job it can for its residents. I wish Mark luck as the Executive Director of Accelerate Long Island, where I am confident he will be successful in creating the innovation-based economy and high-tech jobs we so desperately need on Long Island.”
Walsh will serve as acting Town supervisor until voters choose a new supervisor in November.
However, Jesse Garcia, chairman of the Brookhaven Republican Party, was less than flattering to the out-going supervisor, calling Lesko’s resignation, "nothing more than the ultimate act of cowardice by an accidental supervisor."
It was not clear at press time what Republican candidates would possibly run for the seat in November.
As for Democrats, Schaffer said he would be meeting with Marc Alessi, chair of the Brookhaven Democratic Party, to discuss possible candidates to run in this November’s election.
He mentioned several names including Brian Beedenbender, Lesko’s current chief of staff and a former county legislator, Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri and current Town Clerk Patricia Eddington as possible candidates.
Pontieri, when reached for comment, said. "I haven’t heard from Rich Schaffer (and) at this point there is no interest but if there’s a conversation to be had we’ll talk."
Regarding Lesko’s resignation, he added, “Mark Lesko is a bigger loss to the Town and will be really difficult to replace. He’s one of the few political figures who is not political. It’s a tremendous loss."
Lesko's decision comes as a surprise to many as he easily won re-election this past November to a second term, Republican Cecile Forte.
Michael Sorrentino contributed to this story.