Town Councilman Gene Cook is again demanding that the Town of Huntington cancel the contract of Mercury Public Affairs after it was hired to promote the proposed settlement with the Long Island Power Authority over taxes on the Northport power plant.
The settlement will come before the Town Board on Sept. 3, with the second of two public forums to discuss the issue, and then a vote by the board.
Mercury, a politically connected firm, was hired in July as a move to settle the legal case after 10 years began to pick up steam. Cook had previously tried to cancel the contract. On Wednesday, he renewed the call, after Mercury signed a contract to perform lobbying work for PSEG-LI. That utility holds the contract with LIPA to provide electrical power to Long Island.
Mercury’s lobbying with PSEG-LI “is a direct violation of the contract that was signed between the Town of Huntington and Mercury Public Affairs LLC, as it is a definite conflict of interest, and not in the best interest for the public,” Cook said. “Mercury Public Affairs LLC has been a registered lobbyist for PSEG Long Island since 2013 and, as recently as June 30, 2020, lobbied against legislation (5122A) sponsored by Senator Gaughran limiting LIPA’s ability to recover back taxes against Huntington.
“Mercury is obviously working for both parties, for their own benefit. We should not be working with a company that doesn’t have our residents, business owners, and property owner’s best interests in mind. Our taxpayers deserve transparency from the companies that we hire to represent them.”
said Councilman Eugene Cook. His attempt to put the contract back on the Town Board agenda last week was rejected.
Meanwhile, the state Legislature will be conducting hearings Thursday morning to examine how PSEG responded to the Aug. 4 tropical storm that left hundreds of thousands without power, some for more than a week.
To watch the hearings, scheduled to start at 11 a.m., go here: https://www.nysenate.gov/events