Qualified Support

The East Hampton Town Board’s 3-to-1 vote last week to appoint David Lys to fill the slot vacated when Peter Van Scoyoc moved on to supervisor gets our qualified support. Mr. Lys, a Springs resident who is 41, will serve as a town councilman until the end of the year; beyond that it will be up to him and East Hampton voters if he chooses to run in the November election for the final year of the term.

What we know about Mr. Lys so far is not all that much, although it is positive. He is committed to public service, having been on the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals since 2013 and taken a leadership role in Citizens for Access Rights, which advocates four-wheel drive vehicle use of public beaches. He also has been a leader in the restoration of the Amagansett Life-Saving and Coast Guard Station. Where he stands on key issues facing East Hampton is less clear.

Councilman Jeff Bragman, the newest member of the board, voted against Mr. Lys’s appointment, hinting at differences over the airport, immigration, and the zoning code. These may turn out to be major concerns, but on a five-person board the effect might be minimal. Given that the public knows little about Mr. Lys’s overall views, however, it is good that, should he wish to stay on beyond December, he will have to campaign and ask the electorate for its blessing. He will have a year’s record to stand, or fall, on.

But in putting Mr. Lys forward, the Democratic town board members other than Mr. Bragman made a curious decision in another way: They had a chance to name a first-ever female majority but failed to seize it. At a time when gender equality and sexual harassment is at the top of the news, not selecting a woman for the post — among whom there were a number of qualified options — seems tone-deaf, especially when a Republican man who had never run for elected office was their ultimate choice.