Patrick "Skip" Heaney, a former Southampton Town supervisor and more recently the commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development & Workforce Housing, now has a new job: legislative director for the Southampton Business Alliance.
The SBA is a not-for-profit that advocates for the business community in Southampton. Heaney was one of the seven co-founders of the alliance 20 years ago, being a business owner himself then. He said Thursday that his new job will be to make sure business owners have a voice on legislation that is up for consideration.
“Essentially, I will be representing the membership of the business alliance with regard to legislation that has a direct or indirect impact on mostly small businesses, whether they be Main Street operations or home builders — or any of the tradespeople in between that are represented by the business alliance,” Heaney said.
While he expects to mostly appear before the Southampton Town Board in his new part-time position, Heaney said he imagines he will also be called on to go before the Suffolk County Legislature, when public hearings arise for bills on the county level that may affect Southampton businesses.
“Having sat at the Town Board table myself for 15 of my 17 years at Town Hall, too often the testimony that we would get on legislation would be very lopsided, mostly because business people are too busy working to pay attention to laws that are being entertained at the Town Board," Heaney said. He went on to say that business owners don't know the true impact of legislation until they are confronted by it.
“I look forward to working with members of the board and members of the alliance to be a voice of moderation,” Heaney said.
Heaney was a member of the Town Trustees for two years, than a councilman for nine years, having been appointed for one year then elected to two full four-year terms. He then was elected town supervisor three times, for two-year terms.
As a commissioner for Suffolk County from 2008 to 2011, Heaney said he ventured from Greenport to Babylon and everywhere in between. In his new job, the East Quogue resident can stay closer to home.
Heaney moved to East Quogue with his wife, Joann, in 1974 after visiting many times as a vacation spot, and he spent a portion of his childhood in Southampton Town as well. “My folks had summered out here since about 1947 in Hampton Bays,” he said.
Heaney owned Hurricane Fence Company for about 30 years and he and his wife owned and ran or rented out a number of Main Street storefronts.
In an SBA statement, President Aram Terchunian said, "We’re so pleased things have come full circle — with his retirement from public service he’s able to put his time and energy back into our group’s advocacy efforts.”