The Bravest Politician in Suffolk
Few politicians on Long Island over the last decade have shown the type of courage exhibited by Suffolk Legislator Rob Trotta in defending the interests of the taxpayer.
Trotta has been embroiled in many controversies in the past, and that’s because he’s willing to take a stand and tell truth to power
He takes on entrenched special interests, which is why he’s a lightning rod who often falls in the crosshairs of powerful entities that want to take him down.
His latest brouhaha revolves around his efforts to investigate actions by the omnipresent Police Benevolent Association in Suffolk County.
Trotta has been fighting the injection of police officers being used in political campaigns. He is also leading a charge to stop union dues from being transferred to campaign activity without approval from the members, as Trotta says is required by a recent Supreme Court decision.
The most recent controversy relates to Trotta’s grilling of the Suffolk police commissioner at a committee hearing. Trotta expressed frustration that the commissioner did not act on his complaint that police officers were being used in political campaign commercials. When the commissioner denied he was ignoring the issue, the legislator retorted that he was being disingenuous, since his comments contradicted their earlier conversation, which Trotta had taped.
Though there was nothing illegal about Trotta‘s actions (New York allows a taping where one party to the conversation is acquiescent), other legislators on the panel, who are entrenched with the PBA, expressed outrage and called for Trotta to be removed from the committee. They never addressed Trotta’s underlying complaint.
Whether or not we agree with Trotta’s tactics, we should not be distracted from the underlying issue, which many legislators seem very happy to be. This is one instance where we agree with a recent Newsday analysis on the issue.
The question is whether the unions have too much power in our local government. Legislators tremble at the thought of having the union oppose them in an election.
Almost $1 million was spent by the police union to protect their favored county executive candidate in 2019.
When Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick sought to protect taxpayers by ending mandatory arbitration that has led to astronomical salaries, perks, and benefits in Suffolk law enforcement, he was targeted with hundreds of thousands of dollars against him in his next campaign.
When a local county legislative candidate took a hard stand against these excessive salaries, the union created a disparaging billboard against him and parked it across the street from his mother’s home.
But it’s Trotta‘s latest proposal that really has the unions concerned. His bill would limit candidates for county office from taking money from the same unions whose contracts they negotiate.
He knew this would put a target on his head, but he’s not deterred. He will not likely be successful in getting other legislators to follow his course of common sense, but at least he is raising the issue. He should be commended. And those legislative colleagues who do the bidding of the special interests against him should hang their heads in shame.