Memo to the Supervisor

    As the New Year fast approaches — and on the heels of what could perhaps best be called an upbraiding by voters in November — East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and his two-member majority on the town board are no doubt taking stock of where they stand and thinking about what they might do differently in 2012.
    The supervisor and his board majority, as a group, do not seem temperamentally inclined to seek the opinions of those who could be seen as adversaries. Still, government, to function at its best, should be a collaborative process in which opposing views are heard and considered. And so, in that spirit, we offer a few thoughts about how the board might more effectively lead us and ease the partisan acrimony in our community.
    Here is our suggested list of resolutions:
    • Wean the town budget off the use of surpluses
    • Halt the sale of irreplaceable town assets
    • Restore the rate of community preservation fund land acquisitions to pre-crisis levels
    • Decline Federal Aviation Administration money and bring all parties together to seek limits to aircraft noise
    • Commit in earnest to the East Hampton Town Trustees’ fight to safeguard public beach access
    • Work with the trustees to provide better storage for nonpolluting watercraft
    • Begin work on a comprehensive strategy to deal with sea-level rise
    • End closed-door, one-party discussions of town issues
    • Slow down decisions on controversial matters
    • End the practice of “walk-on” board resolutions (except in cases of real emergency)
    • End the illegal growth of businesses in residential neighborhoods
    • Eliminate illegal signs and other prohibited eyesores
    • Restore social-service and arts funding
    • Restore recycling collection in town parks and other public places
    • Seek to limit illegal, multiple-family rentals
    • Abandon the general assault on the zoning code
    • Develop additional, dispersed ocean-beach parking
    • Restore the Amagansett Life-Saving Service station and open it to the public
    • Express meaningful support for the Planning and Natural Resources Departments
    • Appoint people to boards and other leadership roles based on their qualifications, not their political stripe
    • Return nonpartisan, nonideological procedures to the Ordinance Enforcement Department
    • Take steps to limit political and outside influence on the town attorney’s office
    • Improve Building Department permitting procedures
    • Manage town employees with support and positive guidance, not browbeatings
    • Create procedures for better communication with the public in hurricanes and other natural disasters
    • Expand and enforce a program to limit septic runoff to local waters
    Certainly, the board also deserves credit, as the year draws to a close, for its accomplishments in 2010 and 2011. These jobs well done include holding the line on town expenses, improving efficiency at Town Hall, helping the Springs School with space for its pre-K, and getting the inlets dredged. Yet so much can be done to improve town government’s relationship with the public and its protection of neighborhoods, quality of life, and the environment — if Mr. Wilkinson and the board only wish it.