The first meeting of the newly constituted East Hampton Town Board at Town Hall on Tuesday was largely a matter of formalities, with elected officials being sworn in. East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, a Republican, was sworn in for his second two-year term by Fred Overton, the town clerk, who also swore in two new Democratic board members, Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc. They replace two outgoing Democratic board members, Pete Hammerle and Julia Prince, who did not run for re-election. After being sworn in, Ms. Overby and Mr. Van Scoyoc took seats on the dais, behind their nameplates.
The rest of the morning meeting, with more official appointments and some annual business, was routine except that the board failed to set a meeting schedule for the year after Supervisor Wilkinson suggested they reconsider holding work sessions one Saturday per month.
Mr. Wilkinson instituted the Saturday meetings upon taking office two years ago, and touted them as an example of his effort to provide access to local government for constituents who are part-time residents.
Few people have attended them, however, and those, Mr. Wilkinson agreed Tuesday, were largely the same residents who regularly attend other board sessions. He suggested suspending the Saturday meetings for several months, and then reassessing whether they are necessary.
Mr. Van Scoyoc agreed, questioning the worth of opening Town Hall on a weekend, using light and heat, for the sessions. Ms. Overby said she was inclined to agree, but asked for actual attendance numbers. Councilman Dominick Stanzione, who with Councilwoman Theresa Quigley and the supervisor, is a member of the continuing Republican majority on the board, suggested it delay making a decision. He suggested considering the meeting schedule for July and August, saying fewer meetings should be held in those months.
Ms. Overby countered that idea, noting that many second-home owners are in residence then. In addition, she said, should issues arise during the summer, the board should not put off discussion of them until the fall.
Mr. Stanzione then reversed his position, insisting that the board have as many meetings as possible throughout the year, including the Saturday sessions. Mr. Wilkinson moved to table the issue.
Those sworn in during the meeting included Justice Lisa Rana, with Brian Gilbride, the Mayor of Sag Harbor, doing the honors. In turn, she swore in the new East Hampton highway superintendent, Stephen Lynch. Mr. Overton administered the oath of office to Jill Massa and Jeanne Nielsen, town assessors who won re-election.
The town board reappointed Len Bernard as town budget officer and John Jilnicki as the town attorney. Reappointed as assistant town attorneys were Kathryn Santiago, Robert Connelly, and Patrick Gunn, who also serves as public safety administrator. A fifth attorney in the department, Carl Irace, resigned at the end of 2011.
The board also set salaries for elected, non-union, and appointed officials and town department heads. Annual salaries, at the same level as in 2011, will be $96,862 for the supervisor and $60,539 for each of the other four town board members. Councilwoman Quigley, who was absent from the meeting, was reappointed by Mr. Wilkinson as deputy supervisor.
No appointments were made, however, to fill two seats on the planning board — one vacated by Mr. Van Scoyoc, and the other due to the expiration of the term of Patrick Schutte. A third vacancy, because of the resignation of Frank Falcone in November, was filled some weeks ago with the appointment of Diana Weir.