‘Politicizing’ the C.A.C.

A dozen new members were appointed to the Springs Citizens Advisory Committee by the East Hampton Town Board on March 19.

Councilman Fred Overton, who is the board’s liaison to the committee, declined to offer the resolution and voted against it; it was offered instead by Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, who, like Mr. Overton, is a resident of Springs.

While he said he had no issues with the appointees, Mr. Overton complained that Phyllis Mallah, a member of the committee and a Democrat, had politicized the process of committee appointments by sending an email to other Democrats urging them to join the C.A.C., which, he said she had charged in the email, was up to “Republican high jinks.”

“I believe this woman, this person, is trying to politicize the C.A.C., and this is not the place for politics,” Mr. Overton said. “I am so angry about this that I can’t stand it.”

The town board normally adds anyone to a citizens committee who has requested it, or acts on recommendations from the committee chairperson, without regard to political affiliation.

“We shouldn’t be sending out emails to the Democratic-registered people in Springs telling them that we need more Democratic representation on the committee. It’s wrong,” Mr. Overton said.

Debra Foster, a former town councilwoman active in Democratic circles, was among those contacted, he said.

Ms. Foster, commented Supervisor Larry Cantwell, is “well regarded” and her “wealth of knowledge will be an asset” to the committee. Mr. Overton agreed but said he could not support her addition to the citizens group because of Ms. Mallah’s effort.

The councilman, the only Republican among his colleagues on the board, said the town board members are working well together despite the difference in their party affiliation.

Mr. Cantwell agreed. But, he said, “as far as politicizing any C.A.C., I don’t think that’s good policy.”

Ms. Foster was among those appointed by a 4-to-1 vote of the board. The others were Pat Brabant, Judy Freeman, Susan Harder, Connie Kenney, Tina Plesset, David Weinstein, Judy Grodin, Cile Downs, Michael Antonelle, Mary Beth LaPenna, and Rita Wasserman.