There will be no nail biting for anyone on Tuesday, East Hampton Village’s election day, as every race this year is uncontested. Up for re-election is Paul F. Rickenbach as mayor, and three seats on the village board, held by Barbara Strong Borsack, the deputy mayor, Richard Lawler, and Bruce Siska.
Mr. Rickenbach, who retired in 1982 after 24 years on the village police force, was elected to the board in 1988, and four years later stepped into the top spot when Kenneth Wessberg died.
Heading into his 21st year as mayor, Mr. Rickenbach said this week that “to a great extent the issues 20 years ago are still omnipresent today: good zoning, fiscal responsibility, and quality of life.”
The image of East Hampton as a summer resort has morphed somewhat, from a playground for New Yorkers to more of an international destination, he said. “The world is smaller now,” he said. “There are different mind-sets and different philosophies. A lot of people come into town now and try to reinvent the wheel.”
It’s necessary, said the mayor, to “speak with a certain amount of focus and consistency.” He credits the village boards — planning, zoning, and the design review board — along with the board of trustees, with doing just that.
“The board members are all dedicated and committed,” he said. “There is a deep sense of caring about our beautiful village. Zoning is the key that can make or break a community.”
“I’ve been blessed to be surrounded with good people,” he acknowledged.
During Mr. Rickenbach’s time as mayor, Ms. Borsack became the first, and still the only, woman to serve on the village board. When reached yesterday, she echoed the mayor and said that consistency is the board’s mainstay. “Most people don’t want change as long as things are going well. The big issues are always about balance — balancing fiscal care with the need to keep the infrastructure healthy and staff strong, for instance. We need to balance the needs and wishes of our full-time residents with those of our second homeowners. It’s not easy stuff,” Ms. Borsack said, laughing.
Both the mayor and the deputy mayor said that being elected to the village board was one of their proudest accomplishments, and a privilege that neither takes lightly. “I take it very seriously,” said Ms. Borsack.