Hon. Paul J. Tonna
Executive DirectorFormer Suffolk County Presiding Officer
The Honorable Paul Jude Tonna serves as Executive Director of the Suffolk County Village Officials Association. He also serves as Molloy College’s Executive Director for The Energeia Partnership, a leadership academy dedicated to identifying and addressing the serious, complex and multi-dimensional issues challenging the Long Island, New York region. He is Managing Partner of Praxis Public Relations, Inc. a business consulting and government relations company.
Mr. Tonna served from 1994 to 2005 as a Suffolk County Legislator and for three years, 2000-2002, his fellow legislators chose him to lead the Suffolk County Legislature as its Presiding Officer. During Legislator Tonna’s 12 years of elected office, he had been a strong advocate for the poor, homeless and marginalized on Long Island, affordable housing, labor organizations, and the environment. He sponsored, co-sponsored, and passed numerous laws and/or initiatives including: ground breaking non-smoking legislation; innovative programs focused on eliminating child poverty and homelessness; legislation designed to elevate the standard of living for all Suffolk County residents and innovative Greenways Funds to protect open space, farmlands and parklands.
Paul Tonna is a strong advocate of immigrants working and living on Long Island. The 2003 award- winning film documentary Farmingville chronicled some of those efforts. He has appeared on numerous radio and TV shows including: Lou Dobbs, CNN; The Oxygen Network; LI Telecare; TV 55, The Rosie O’Donnell Show; News 12 Long Island; NBC News 4 and PBS WLIW 21.
Mr. Tonna is a former Adjunct Professor in Theology Religious Studies at St. John’s University. He is the former Chairman of the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) and former Vice-Chairman of the Long Island Regional Planning Council. Mr. Tonna is an active member of many not-for-profit boards including: The Advanced Energy Research Technology Center (Stony Brook University), Energeia Board of Advisors (Molloy College), The Long Island Index Advisory Board, and Erase Racism’s College of Advisors. He also serves as the Executive Director of the Suffolk County Village Officials Association (SCVOA) and the United States Green Building Council's Long Island Chapter (USGBC-LI). Mr. Tonna is Chairman Commissioner of the South Huntington Water District; Founding Director of Empire National Bank, and on the Board of Directors of BioRestorative Therapies, Inc. (“BRT”) a life sciences biotechnology company focused on adult stem cell-based cellular therapies for various personal medical applications.
Paul Tonna has received many awards and honors including: Molloy College’s Caritas Medal; St. John’s University St. Vincent De Paul Medal; Suffolk County Human Rights Commission Legislator of the Year; National Association of Social Workers Public Citizen of the Year; Habitat for Humanity Man of the Year; The Nature Conservancy’s Conservation Award; Networking Magazine’s David Award; Long Island Business News 50 Around 50 Award; ACIT Community Advocate Award; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission Public Service Award, American Jewish Committee Community Service Honoree and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.
Mr. Tonna earned an undergraduate degree in philosophy from New York University, a Masters of Arts degree in theology from Immaculate Conception Seminary and conducted doctoral studies in systematic theology at Fordham University.
Paul Tonna resides in Huntington, New York with his wife Carol and his children: Peter, Paul, John, Grace, Mary, Carolann, Joseph and Lucy.