At the Van Nostrand Theatre on the Brentwood Campus of Suffolk Community College, a packed house watched as Steve Bellone was inaugurated as the new County Executive of Suffolk.
In his inaugural address, County Executive Bellone promised to follow through on many of the key aspects of his campaign platform, most especially government efficiency, stating that “We must do more with less? Why? Because the alternative is doing with less with less, and that is unacceptable to me, but let me be clear, we will be doing with less.
Later in his inauguration speech, County Executive Bellone, made an additional promise, stating that he will never submit or support a budget that overrides the tax cap.
Bellone also once again reiterated hopes that he could attract businesses back to Long Island by capitalizing on the world-class medical and research facilities in Suffolk through the Accelerate Long Island Initiative that he unveiled in August.
The ceremony itself, which was emceed by Congressman Steve Israel, and featured both Representative Tim Bishop and Senator Charles Schumer, lasted approximately an hour and thirty minutes and featured performances from both local students as well as the Cornerstone Church of God in Christ Choir.
Both Congressman Israel and Senator Schumer had nothing but praise for the incoming County Executive.
Congressman Israel described a story of Bellone giving up the first day of his Honeymoon to be with a group of World War II veterans at the World War II memorial in Washington, before describing the day as “a great day not only for Steve [Bellone] and his family, but for all of Suffolk as well.”
Senator Schumer, whom keynoted the event, noted about Bellone that “he is hard-working, he is concientous, and he’s such a decent person. It’s a rare combination.”.
After the event, the new county executive made himself available to the media for his first press conference in the position, where he answered questions on a number of topics including:
When asked about the fiscal challenges of the county, Mr. Bellone mentioned that he intends to place together a financial committee that will determine the extent of the potential fiscal crisis, and that the committee should have a preliminary report by the end of January. Furthermore, the budget will in part be designed with the medium to long term (approximately 5 to 10 years in mind).
On a more local front, when asked about some of the methodology and attitude that the Suffolk Police Department uses in local communities, Bellone responded, “I think I’ve made it clear that we need to change the attitude of the way we do policing in this county, we need to manage the police department in a way that focuses them on their core mission to protect the people and communities of Suffolk and make sure that we’re not doing things in communities that are counterproductive to that mission.”
Finally, when asked about the transition, Bellone mentioned that, “he’s excited about the job and the oppurtunity, and that out of crises and with the all the problems that we do have, there are real opportunities.”