Mark Lesko is stepping down as the supervisor of the Town of Brookhaven, the geographically largest township on Long Island, to take a top position at a local nonprofit that focuses on spurring innovation in the region.
Lesko, a Democrat, made the surprising announcement in a statement late Wednesday afternoon, saying he will step down in September to become the executive director at Accelerate Long Island. Deputy Supervisor and Councilwoman Kathleen Walsh will temporarily take over for Lesko.
“It has been an incredibly rewarding and inspiring experience,” said Lesko, who has been supervisor since 2009. “I am proud of what my Brookhaven team has accomplished in over three years.”
Kevin Law, executive director of the Long Island Association, called the board’s unanimous decision to pick Lesko a “no-brainer.”
“He’s a leader, he’s a manger and he knows how to get along well with others,” said Law.
“It is my hope that Accelerate Long Island will have a profound economic impact on the entire region for years to come,” Lesko added.
Lesko, a former federal prosecutor, was re-elected last November when he beat Republican Cecile Forte 58 to 41 percent.
Walsh, his successor, also released a statement. “Together, we worked in a bipartisan fashion to hold the line on property taxes and ensure that Town government is always doing the very best job it can for its residents.
“I wish Mark luck as the Executive Director of Accelerate Long Island, where I am confident he will be successful in creating the innovation-based economy and high-tech jobs we so desperately need on Long Island.”
A special election for a new supervisor will be held this fall at a date to be determined.