Carrie Meek Gallagher, Chairwoman
Carrie Meek Gallagher was appointed chairwoman of the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission in January of 2016, four months after being appointed Regional Director for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). In her role as Regional Director, Carrie oversees a staff of roughly 150 personnel with responsibility for implementing environmental conservation programs throughout Long Island. The Department’s mission is to conserve, improve and protect New York's natural resources and environment and to prevent, abate and control water, land and air pollution, in order to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state and their overall economic and social well-being.
Previously she served as the Chief Sustainability Officer for the Suffolk County Water Authority, responsible for implementing a sustainability program, including source water protection, water quality improvement, water conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, recycling, green buildings and procurement, waste reduction, and environmental education. Prior to becoming Chief Sustainability Officer, she was the Suffolk County Commissioner of the Department of Environment and Energy, safeguarding the county’s natural resources and providing a single centralized office for consideration of issues and activities from the perspective of their impact on the environment. She has also served as Deputy Director of Planning for Suffolk County; the inaugural director of the Long Island Index, an indicators project that measures the region’s progress toward improving the quality of life for all Long Islander; headed the Nassau County Economic Development Resource Center under County Executive Tom Suozzi; and developed Sustainable Long Island’s Brownfields Redevelopment program.
She holds a B.A. in Sustainable Development and Latin American Studies from Amherst College, an M.S. in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development from the University of Maryland at College Park, and an MBA from the Frank G. Zarb School of Business at Hofstra University. Long Island Business News selected her as one of its 40 Rising Stars Under 40, Class of 2003, she is a member of Energeia, Class of 2006 and a LEED AP BD+C.
Steven Bellone, Member
Steven Bellone was sworn into office as Suffolk County’s eighth county executive on January 1, 2012.
Representing approximately 1.5 million Suffolk residents, Bellone has saved tens of millions of taxpayer dollars through reform measures, created jobs, improved water quality to safeguard the region’s water supply and enhanced the quality of life of Suffolk residents by improving public safety and investing in county parks and roads.
Bellone as county executive has emphasized economic development and fostering a local economy designed to keep young professionals on Long Island. His Connect Long Island vision aims to invest in an upgraded rapid transportation system that will connect universities, research centers, downtowns, and parks. The plan is designed to strengthen local businesses by expanding natural customer bases and develop the necessary infrastructure to provide residents with north/south transportation options.
Prior to his election as county executive, Bellone served as Babylon Town supervisor from 2001-2011. As supervisor, Bellone trimmed the government workforce while maintaining the same high-level government services. He reduced the town’s debt every year, while delivering substantial tax cuts to residents.
As Babylon Town Supervisor, Bellone launched Wyandanch Rising in 2002, a comprehensive, community-based revitalization plan that redevelops the area surrounding the Wyandanch Long Island Rail Road station into a pedestrian-friendly and vibrant downtown.
Bellone is a graduate of North Babylon High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts at Queens College in 1991. Enlisting in the United States Army in 1992, Bellone served as a communications specialist stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. During his service in the Army, he was awarded commendations for meritorious service and earned a Master of Public Administration by attending night classes at Webster University. Bellone earned a law degree from Fordham University and was admitted to the New York State Bar Association in 1999.
Laura Jens-Smith, Member
Laura Jens-Smith became the first woman elected Riverhead Town supervisor in the town’s 225 year history in November of 2017. She was sworn in as supervisor on January 1, 2018.
Elected to the Mattituck-Cutchogue Board of Education in 2011, Jens-Smith was subsequently reelected to the board twice and served as board president from July of 2015 until stepping down from the board in December of 2017 prior to assuming her duties as town supervisor. As board president, Jens-Smith managed a $40 million budget, successfully keeping a cap on taxes while also implementing student farming programs and spearheading the addition of the Mattituck Jr/Sr High School’s cutting edge running track that now serves as the standard for other school districts. She has also sat on numerous community boards and worked on various community initiatives.
It is Jens-Smith’s belief that the basis of every decision in town government is the understanding that choices made today will have ramifications far into the future.
A graduate of Comsewogue High School, Jens-Smith earned an Associate’s degree from Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing before beginning a career as a staff nurse in the Cardiac Care Unit at Beth Israel Medical Center. While working as a nurse, Jens-Smith returned to school and earned a Bachelor’s degree from Pace University.
Jens-Smith is the mother of two grown children. She lives with her husband and two dogs in the Riverhead hamlet of Laurel.
Edward P. Romaine, Member
Ed Romaine is Brookhaven Town’s 70th supervisor, having been elected to that office during a special election in 2012 and re-elected for full two-year terms in 2013 and 2015.
As supervisor, Romaine has championed environmental and quality of life issues in Brookhaven Town while strengthening Town finances. During his first year in office as Supervisor, Romaine spearheaded legislation unanimously approved by the Town Board and embraced by residents, environmentalists and the building community to forever protect the Carmans River. He also introduced legislation that has strengthened the town’s housing codes and has aggressively prosecuted problem landlords that have impacted neighborhoods throughout the Town.
Romaine continues to champion environmental issues. Under his leadership, Brookhaven was named a Tree City USA in 2016 and 2017 and received nearly a million dollars in state grants in 2016 to work on major environmental projects that directly impact Long Island. Romaine continues to pioneer environmental programs that serve to better Brookhaven Town, including Citizen Ranger, townwide cleanup days, and Explore the Estuary. He brought single-stream recycling to Brookhaven in 2014, making the town the leader in this technology on Long Island. He has reduced millions of dollars in pipeline debt and maintained the Town’s strong AAA credit rating, while also holding the line on total town property taxes in his 2017 budget.
Romaine began his career in public service as a history teacher in the Hauppauge School District, where he taught for ten years. In 1980, he entered public service as the Town of Brookhaven’s first Commissioner of Housing and Community Development and was later appointed Director of Economic Development.
Romaine was a member of the Suffolk County Legislature from 1986 through 1989, where he was known as a fiscal conservative, sponsoring such cost-saving measures as the Suffolk County Tax Cap. He also established a record as a fighter for the environment by authoring Suffolk’s first Clean Water Act. In 1989, he was elected Suffolk County Clerk and served for 16 years, taking an active role in increasing productivity and improving access to official records. He was recognized as a pioneer in government use of technology and was chosen “2001 New York State County Clerk of the Year.”
In 2005, Romaine was again elected to the County Legislature, representing the First Legislative District and re-elected in 2007, 2009, and 2011. As a county legislator, Romaine preserved countless acres of open space in eastern Brookhaven, the North Fork and Shelter Island. He sponsored landmark legislation including “Michael’s Law” banning explosive fuel gels, the state’s first local law to regulate helicopter traffic and a law establishing the LIPA Oversight Commission. He also reduced the tax burden on residents by promoting smart government initiatives and real tax reform.
Romaine earned a B.A. in History from Adelphi University and a Masters in History from Long Island University.
Jay H. Schneiderman, Member
Jay Schneiderman was inaugurated as the supervisor of Southampton Town in 2016. He previously served as a Suffolk County legislator from 2004-2015. Throughout his 12-year tenure, he distinguished himself through his independence, innovation, efforts to create better affordable housing opportunities, preserve open space, reduce traffic congestion, keep neighborhoods safe and help seniors and local families. He served as the Legislature’s deputy presiding officer from 2014 until the end of his term the following December.
Schneiderman, formerly of Montauk, but now residing in Southampton, also has the unique distinction of being elected supervisor of both South Fork towns, serving in East Hampton Town from 2000-2004. In that capacity he delivered four consecutive tax cuts, improved employee morale and garnered the highest municipal bond rating in New York State. He led the fight to preserve more than 1,000 acres of open space and worked closely with fellow board members to draft long-range plans for affordable housing and drinking water protection.
Immediately prior to his two terms as supervisor, Schneiderman was a member of East Hampton’s Zoning Board of Appeals, and was elected its chairman in 1996, a capacity serviced in until 1999.
Regardless of the position held, he has never raised general fund property taxes in 16 years of elected office.
Schneiderman began his career as a science, mathematics and music teacher in East End schools. During that time, he also managed his family’s business in Montauk and later formed his own property management company.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Ithaca College, a Master of Arts in Education from the State University of New York at Cortland and a Masters in Administration from LIU Post.