What’s a politician who has spent most of his adult life in politics supposed to do when he’s term-limited?
Look for another office to run for, which is County Legislator Jay Schneiderman’s (I-Montauk) plan. Shelter Island’s rep on the county level has been actively exploring opportunities that could see his name on the ballot in November in for another office when his county term sunsets.
Making the rumor rounds was a possible run for Suffolk County treasurer, a position being vacated by Angie Carpenter who becomes Islip Town Supervisor next month. But a bid for East Hampton supervisor or a seat on the Southampton Town Board are also in play.
It will fall to County Executive Steve Bellone to name Ms. Carpenter’s successor and then seek the legislature’s approval of his choice. It could be Mr. Schneiderman, who today runs as an Independent and has through the years received the endorsement of all parties.
But despite earlier expressing interest in the treasurer’s post, Mr. Schneiderman is backing away now.
That’s both because the office is due to be swallowed up into the County Comptroller’s office in 2018, making it a short-term opportunity, and also because former County Comptroller Joe Sawicki has expressed interest in the treasurer’s post.
“I think I’m qualified,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “I can’t say I’m more qualified than Joe is.” And given the need to get the legislature’s approval of Mr. Bellone’s pick, he believes Mr. Sawicki would be Mr. Bellone’s choice.
Mr. Schneiderman said he discussed the possibility of switching seats with Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor), thinking Mr. Thiele might like to leave Albany and be closer to home. But when former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver was indicted on corruption charges, that changed everything.
New Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie appointed Mr. Thiele to a leadership post as Secretary to the Assembly Majority Conference and as Chairman of the Small Business Committee.
“I’m pretty happy with what I’m doing,” Mr. Thiele said.
Two other rumors surfaced in recent weeks: a desire by Mr. Schneiderman to run for East Hampton supervisor, a post he held from 1999 to 2003, or seeking the supervisor’s seat in Southampton.
Mr. Schneiderman has business interests in both communities, but his family is now based in Southampton.
As for Southampton, he considers Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst a friend and wouldn’t run against her. She, too, faces term limits and could run one more time.
In the interim, Mr. Schneiderman is eyeing a possible seat on the Southampton Town Board.
“I love the idea of remaining in elective office,” he said. “As an elected official, you answer directly to the people.”