Two Seats on Southampton Town Board Up for Grabs

Clockwise from upper left, Thea R. Fry, Stan Glinka, Julie Lofstad, John Schiavoni.

In addition to the supervisor’s race, Southampton voters are contemplating other contests, with two seats open on the town board and two incumbents hoping to hang on to their positions. 

Councilman Stan Glinka, a Republican, and Councilwoman Julie Lofstad, a Democrat, are the incumbent town board members. Joining Mr. Glinka on the Republican ticket is Thea Dombrowski-Fry, a newcomer who is a teaching assistant in the Southampton School District. Ms. Lofstad’s running mate is Tommy John Schiavoni, a teacher who is on the Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals and the Sag Harbor School Board. Town board members serve four-year terms.

Mr. Glinka is seeking a second term. “I think, probably, the most rewarding part of this job is being able to help people in different facets of the town, whether business owners or homeowners,” he said. After years of participation in civic organizations, it took some getting used to, he said, to have all the resources the town offers at his fingertips. 

Mr. Glinka has worked in banking for nearly 24 years. He is a vice president in the private banking division of the Bridgehampton National Bank. Given his career and his public service, he said he easily puts in a 70-hour workweek. With an office on Windmill Lane in Southampton Village, he said he was able to balance his time.

One of the biggest accomplishments of his first term, he said, was legislation for tax abatement for the revitalization of motels. The town adopted a hometown law that allows investors to put money into a motel, but pay taxes on only half the profit over the next decade, he said. 

Three motels in Hampton Bays, the area Mr. Glinka had in mind when crafting the legislation, have taken advantage of tax abatement so far, and more will follow, he said. 

A Southampton native, Mr. Glinka lives in Hampton Bays, one of several areas in town that have grappled with economic redevelopment and code enforcement. In his first term, he approached these issues hands-on, he said. He rode along with code enforcement officers to see what they deal with at first hand, and often attends the department’s weekly staff meetings. He has also taken officers to civic meetings to explain what is being done in their neighborhood.

However, he voted against the hiring of a new town code compliance and emergency management administrator, Steven Troyd. He said it had nothing to do with Mr. Troyd’s qualifications, but that the department needed “more feet on the ground.” For Mr. Troyd’s salary, two more officers could have been hired, he said. 

Asked about an effort in Hampton Bays last month that yielded 215 code violations, Mr. Glinka said, “All of that was already in play” before Mr. Troyd’s hiring. Asked if hiring Mr. Troyd had been a political stunt, Mr. Glinka just shook his head. 

Mr. Glinka and his running mate, Ms. Dombrowski-Fry, are looking toward becoming involved in the revitalization of Hampton Bays and the Flanders-Riverside-Northampton area, which they say are on the cusp of economic redevelopment. These areas are “the gateway to the East End. They need a shot in the arm,” Ms. Dombrowski-Fry said. 

Her name appears on the ballot as Thea R. Fry. She grew up in Water Mill, a second-generation American. A teacher’s assistant, she has worked in the Southampton School District for 22 years. If elected, she is not sure if she will retire. She lives in Hampton Bays and has spoken at town board meetings in favor of a condo development on Canoe Place Road. “I want development in Hampton Bays. I want businesses to come,” she said. She worries about whether her son, who is now 13, will be able to stay in town. She said that like most residents here she is managing a career and a family and paying high prices for groceries. “On Election Day, when you look in the mirror, I want you to see me. I am the average voter.”

Ms. Lofstad was elected to the board in a special election in January of 2016 to fill the vacancy created when Councilman Brad Bender was arrested on drug-related charges and resigned. She is seeking her first full four-year term. 

In her 20 months on the board, she has found “the starkest contrast between being a community advocate and now being a public servant,” she said, adding that she does not call herself a politician. “When I was a community advocate, I had one specific goal in mind. . . . Well, now in this seat . . . you can’t just look at that one goal, you have to see what else that goal will affect, the unintended consequences or the unintended benefits,” she said. “I am not in this to be a career politician. I’m in this to help my town the best way that I can to make it a safer, healthier place for our residents, our visitors, hopefully for our kids and grandkids, who will live here as well.” 

She is most proud of having taken part in the board’s water quality initiatives; it has mandated advanced septic systems for new construction and in major remodeling in sensitive areas and is working to put more oysters in the bays — something her running mate is also interested in. 

A Hampton Bays resident, Ms. Lofstad runs a commercial fishing business with her husband. She has been keeping tabs on the proposed offshore wind project, saying, “I certainly support wind power, as long as it’s not to the destruction of our industry.” 

Looking ahead, she is interested in trying to tackle the South Fork’s traffic problems. The town is working with the Long Island Rail Road on increasing eastbound trains by 2019. She wants to look into finding a place where those  with trucks and equipment necessary to do their jobs can park overnight near the train stations and then take trains to and from Southampton. 

Mr. Schiavoni comes from a large, well-known Sag Harbor family, and his wife is Andrea Schiavoni, who is in her third term as a Southampton Town justice. They live on North Haven, where he has served as a village trustee. Mr. Schiavoni is the only candidate who lives east of the canal. Spreading representation throughout town is important, he said, especially when it comes to the community preservation fund and water quality improvement in the eastern part of the town. He supports a proposed deal by which the town would purchase waterfront property owned by developers in Sag Harbor Village with C.P.F. money so it can be turned into a proposed Steinbeck Memorial Park.  

Mr. Schneiderman appointed Mr. Schiavoni to the town’s zoning board in 2016. He is vice president of the Sag Harbor School Board, having joined that board in 2014, while continuing his career as a social studies teacher in the Center Moriches School District, where he also teaches college-credited courses. 

Asked why he decided to run for town board, he cited water quality and tick-borne illnesses among the biggest reasons. “What does this place look like in 75 years? I want our generation to be the one that says, ‘Okay, we turned it around.’ ” He said the town board had taken some good first steps with the septic rebate program, and he wants to see more done, such as possible cluster  sewage treatment systems. 

As for tick-borne diseases, Mr. Schiavoni wants to see the town be more involved. “In conjunction with the state, I’d like to see Southampton Town be one of the local leaders in the State of New York on what to do for this.” He also wants to assist Ms. Lofstad and the town with affordable-housing ideas that involve accessory apartments, and he also would like to explore setting up an equity-sharing concept, where residents and the town go in as partners on an affordable house. Residents would have an option to buy out the town over time, he said. 

Another reason why he chose to run now is that his school career is winding down, he said. If elected he will finish out the academic year and retire after 29 years. He also would step down from the zoning board before taking office in January, and would most likely retire from the school board. His term is up in the spring. 

Ms. Lofstad and Mr. Schiavoni also appear on the Independence, Working Families, and Women’s Equality lines. Ms. Dombrowski-Fry and Mr. Glinka were also endorsed by the Conservative Party.

 

Other Offices

Aside from the town board, Alex Gregor is seeking his third four-year term as highway superintendent on the Democratic ticket and will be challenged by Lance Aldrich, who used to work under Mr. Gregor. Mr. Aldrich had been the deputy highway superintendent under Bill Masterson, the former superintendent. When Mr. Gregor took office in 2010, Mr. Aldrich became the department’s general foreman and remained in that position for six years until it was eliminated at Mr. Gregor’s request. 

Mr. Gregor, a member of the Independence Party, is from East Quogue. Mr. Aldrich, a North Sea resident, does private consulting, and also works part time for the town as a land steward and maintenance mechanic in the Community Preservation Fund Department.

All five Southampton Town trustee positions are up in November. Four incumbents are seeking re-election, while the fifth, Eric Schultz, has chosen to step down. The incumbents are Bill Pell IV, who was cross endorsed, Edward J. Warner Jr., Bruce A. Stafford, and Scott M. Horowitz. The latter three have Republican nods, along with Donald T. Law, a newcomer. The Democratic candidates are Gary T. Glanz, Ann E. Welker, and Ronald A. Fisher.

The town clerk and town justices have all received cross endorsements. Sundy A. Schermeyer, a Republican first elected in 2006, is seeking her fourth four-year term as clerk. Deborah E. Kooperstein, a Democrat, and Barbara L. Wilson, a Republican, are the incumbent justices.