Tens of thousands of eastern Long Island residents will lack representation through January on the Suffolk County Legislature despite electing a new legislator this month thanks to a quirk in the law.
Eight legislative district residents have been without county representation since Presiding Officer William Lindsay (D-Holbrook) died of cancer in September. His son, Legis.-elect William Lindsay III (D-Bohemia), won the seat on Election Day, but because the district map was redrawn this year, he can’t join the panel right away.
“I have no choice under these unique circumstances,” Lindsay said. “I have complete faith in the staff in my late father’s office to handle any and all concerns or issues constituents might have.”
County law requires that a special election be held within three months of a legislative seat being vacated and winners typically take office right away. But, county law is unclear if the second part of that rule applies when the redistricting process is in play.
Legislative Counsel George Nolan and County Attorney Dennis Brown advised temporary Presiding Officer Wayne Horsley (D-Babylon), who is leaving for another job in January, that waiting until the New Year when the new map goes into effect was the best course of action.
“I am sure we will have a legislative proposal next year to clarify the law,” Horsley added.
The legislature has two more meetings scheduled this year, including one Tuesday and another Dec. 17.
The eight district, shaped like a seated dog, stretches from Holtsville in the northeast corner to Oakdale in the southwest corner. The new district that is about to take effect is more square.