Nassau IDA to elect new chairman to replace Kessel

Nassau IDA to elect new chairman to replace Kessel
Richard Kessel, chairman of the Nassau IDA. (Photo courtesy of League of Conservation Voters)

Nassau County Industrial Development Agency Chairman Richard Kessel said during Thursday’s board meeting it would be his last since the agency will hold an election later this month to find his successor. 

“I am very fortunate to have worked with great board members both now and in the past,” Kessel said at the end of the March 30 night meeting at the Nassau County Legislative Chambers in Mineola. “One of the great things I can say is that we accomplished a lot and that’s a wonderful thing.”

Kessel, 72, was appointed to the board by then-Nassau County Executive Laura Curran in 2018 and supported by Bruce Blakeman, a Republican, he said. The chairman thanked both executives, developers and unions he had worked with as head of the agency. 

The IDA, which promotes business growth and grants tax breaks to development projects, will have two openings on its seven-member board by the next April 27 meeting. Board members are appointed by the county executive and approved by the county Legislature for the volunteer, non-compensated positions. 

IDA board members will vote for John Coumatos, Reginald Spinello, Victor LaGreca and William Rockensies for chairman. Board Member Raymond Pinto was recently elected secretary. 

Kessel, a Democrat, served as president and CEO of the New York Power Authority, the largest state public power utility in the United States, for nearly three years from October 2008 to September 2011. 

Prior to the NYPA, Kessel served two terms as chairman of the Long Island Power Authority from 1989 to 1995 and 1997 to 2006. 

Kessel was also the executive director of the New York State Consumer Protection Board from 1984 to 1985 and trustee for Nassau County Community College from 1981 to 2000. 

The chairman said at the meeting he does not plan on leaving public service, but he’ll “see what happens going forward.”

Of the remaining board members who can be elected chairman, Coumatos owns Bethpage-based B.K. Sweeney’s Parkside Tavern and has been on the board since 2012.

Spinello is a former Glen Cove mayor, IDA and Community Development Agency chairman who has served since April 2022.

LaGreca is currently the president of Local 298 AFL – CIO and has been a board member since June 2022.

Rockensies is the director of the construction services division at H2M Architects and has served on the board since April 2022.

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