Pat Mansir Resigns From Town Trustees

Democrat on a panel with Democratic majority cites dysfunction
Pat Mansir Taylor K. Vecsey

Pat Mansir, a first term East Hampton Town Trustee, resigned on Monday, expressing growing frustration with colleagues who “diminish and restrict” other trustees and with what she describes as the panel’s dysfunction. 

In a letter to the editor of The Star this week, Ms. Mansir, who had been a town councilwoman for 12 years and a member of the planning board for 10 years before that, wrote, “This board of trustees is where he who can talk the longest, loudest, and most foul, can take over and lead the board. This kind of behavior is to the detriment of the morale and productivity of each and every board member.”

By telephone on Tuesday, Ms. Mansir, a Democrat who was elected with Independence endorsement, said she had called Len Bernard, the town budget officer, and said, “Take me off the payroll.”

“Each member, including me, has skills, expertise we can bring to the table. With all of that experience and willpower we can solve almost anything, but in this case the bigger story, which I’m not going into here, is the actions by a few,” she said.

Ms. Mansir was said to be focusing on Jim Grimes, a Republican also serving his first term, with whom she has quarreled. In January, Mr. Grimes publicly criticized her handling of the bidding process for planned excavation at Fresh Pond in Amagansett.

“The trustee seat requires more hands-on work than a councilperson’s,” Francis Bock, the trustees’ presiding officer, said yesterday. “We don’t have to follow exactly the bidding procedures the way the town does. That whole bidding thing is what threw her off.”

 Mr. Bock said he was surprised by Ms. Mansir’s resignation and was unsure if her seat would be filled by appointment or remain open until the Nov. 7 election, when all nine seats will be contested, as they are every two years.

As a consequence of Ms. Mansir’s resignation, Brian Byrnes, who said last month that he would not seek re-election, has reconsidered, telling The Star yesterday that he will run again. “I see a need to continue on and do the good work that we’ve been able to accomplish,” he said of his Democratic colleagues.

Ms. Mansir has been dismayed by Mr. Grimes’s use of crude language during meetings, which are broadcast live on LTV. “There are F.C.C. rules,” she said on Tuesday, referring to the Federal Communications Commission. “I can’t believe LTV would want this kind of language. . . . I would be very embarrassed if my grandchildren heard that.” 

“Jim is extremely opinionated,” Mr. Bock said. “I think he’s also a voice of reason from the Republican Party. Certainly, we’ve embraced that. He’s intelligent, he knows his stuff when it comes to a lot of this, especially waterfront issues. For some reason, Pat didn’t think it was a good idea for us to embrace some of those things. I never understood that. But I’m not going to start a war of words with her. I think the trustees have done a pretty decent job so far. We’ve changed the direction. We’ve accomplished most of the things we set out to do when we campaigned. She hasn’t seen it that way.”

Ms. Mansir received the second highest number of votes in the 2015 election, which resulted in a bipartisan board, with Democrats taking six of the nine seats. Mr. Bock, a Democrat, was the top vote getter. When the board was sworn in, in January 2016, Ms. Mansir was elected as one of two deputy clerks, with Bill Taylor. In January of this year, however, she lost that position, along with a corresponding reduction in salary, when the trustees voted to replace her with Rick Drew, another first-term Democrat.

At the time, Ms. Mansir downplayed the significance of the move. “It had nothing to do with the money,” she said on Tuesday. “But it was par for the course.” Mr. Grimes and Mr. Bock, she said, are working to ensure that they alone “play a definitive role.”

“I’ve done so many good things for the town. I can’t survive in anything where I’m not able to produce. It’s just not fair,” she said.

“I knew that she has been struggling since she was replaced as deputy clerk,” Mr. Bock said, “and I knew that she was considering not running for re-election. I tried to talk to her about that, but wasn’t really getting anywhere. But I certainly didn’t expect her to go this route.”