A Great Divide Gets Wider

Wilkinson and Quigley are new minority
Carissa Katz.

    Political opposition appeared to be a driving force this week at the East Hampton Town Board, where Councilwoman Theresa Quigley and Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, both Republicans, voted continually, with virtually no explanation, against resolutions offered by the Democrats on the board as well as their fellow party member, Dominick Stanzione — in apparent retribution for Mr. Stanzione sometimes casting his swing vote against their proposals.
    In two meetings this week, Ms. Quigley voted no on 10 resolutions and abstained on 2.
     On 5 of 11 votes, Supervisor Wilkinson immediately followed suit; on a 12th, he voted no and she abstained. The supervisor and Ms. Quigley, his deputy, are increasingly finding themselves in the minority on various board matters and votes. However, the resolutions had been reviewed at a board work session and their subjects were discussed in most cases without engendering any opposition before being brought to a vote.
    Asked by e-mail to elaborate on her objections to the various initiatives covered by the resolutions, Ms. Quigley said only, “I do not support them.”
    In his own e-mail, Mr. Wilkinson said, “Five of the six, I believe, have a common theme — they were proposed by Dominick. Dominick’s track record, which has included unauthorized letter signings representing the town, pandering to certain interest groups, reneging on organizational and recruitment strategies, personally rerouting incoming and exiting aircraft, misrepresentations in general — has led to an atmosphere of distrust, by me, and therefore led to these negative votes.”
    Both Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley have announced that they will not run to keep their seats. Mr. Stanzione has been nominated by the East Hampton G.O.P. for a second term.
    Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley voted against three resolutions offered by Mr. Stanzione to schedule hearings on additions to the town code. The new code chapters cover matters related to stormwater runoff and pollutant discharges into water bodies, which towns are required to address under the federal Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems program. Mr. Stanzione is overseeing the town’s efforts toward compliance for the board.
    Ms. Quigley and Mr. Wilkinson also voted against authorizing the start of a Wainscott business corridor study, by town planners along with citizen volunteers. Ms. Quigley had objected at a prior work session to the language of the resolution, offered by Democratic Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc, stating that the Planning Department was to prepare the study, “with input from the W.C.A.C. and other stakeholders.”
    Ms. Quigley, who had originally proposed having the citizens committee itself do the study, said that at a citizens committee meeting, which both she and Mr. Van Scoyoc attended, it had been determined that the group would take the lead, with input from town planners. Mr. Van Scoyoc said it was just the opposite; that the committee members had said they were not qualified to undertake the study. This week he reported that the group was happy that the board had moved to get it under way.
    The councilwoman also opposed a $1,500 transfer from one area of the town airport budget to another, and both she and Mr. Wilkinson voted against renewing a contract with a company that has been operating a system called AirScene, which tracks and compiles aircraft flight data at the town airport, for the last six years. The data is used to pursue pilots’ compliance with voluntary noise-abatement procedures. It is also key to developing a record that the town could use to seek Federal Aviation Administration approval for airport access restrictions designed to lessen airport noise, an effort Ms. Quigley has supported.
    Both board members have expressed dissatisfaction with Mr. Stanzione’s handling of airport matters, but the majority of the board approved the $106,632 contract to continue the flight track monitoring.
    Several resolutions offered by Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, the board’s liaison on the scavenger waste treatment plant — another matter sparking board disagreement — were also spurned by Ms. Quigley without explanation. She voted against seeking bids on the transfer of septic waste from the facility (a previous contract is drawing to a close), and against extending the current contract, with Hamptons Septic Services, for two weeks, through April 15. The other four board members approved the resolutions. Bids will be accepted by the town purchasing office through March 27, and Hamptons Septic Services will continue hauling waste away in the meantime.
    In addition, Ms. Quigley voted against extending for 2013 a contract with FPM Group, Ltd., an engineering firm, to monitor methane wells at the East Hampton and Montauk landfills, which is required by the State Department of Environmental Conservation. The total cost for the year is not to exceed $131,593, a 17-percent reduction on the East Hampton landfill work, and an 8-percent decrease in the costs of monitoring the Montauk wells.
    Ms. Quigley also cast the sole vote last Thursday against ratifying a stipulation of settlement with Sheila Carter, a town employee who had been brought up on disciplinary charges.
    On a resolution offered by Councilman Van Scoyoc, appointing David Lys to the zoning board of appeals for a five-year term, Ms. Quigley abstained and Mr. Wilkinson voted no. The councilwoman had offered Karen Benvenuto as her appointee. She pointed out last Thursday that with Mr. Lys’s appointment, the Z.B.A. would be composed of entirely male members and would lack diversity.
    On Tuesday, Ms. Quigley abstained, again without explanation, from an otherwise unanimous vote to appoint Rossetti Perchik, an architect, to the town Architectural Review Board for a five-year term. The appointment was proposed by Mr. Van Scoyoc.


Comments

Dump Stanzione! It's time - now. He has little credibility, sold out all of us to wealthy aviation interests, and should now be given the exit boot. I, for one, hate what he did DIRECTING all helicopter traffic over Southampton last year. The EH Town airport is a bad neighbor, an exit ramp to Heaven by the wealthy - but damned those who must listen to the roar of those monster-jets, the hell-ocopters, and those really annoying seaplanes. You can thank Stanzion for this mess.