Village Board Reorganizes for Coming Year
Rose Brown and Arthur Graham, who received the most votes in the June 19 election for two seats on the East Hampton Village Board, were sworn in at the board’s organizational meeting on Tuesday. Ms. Brown is a newcomer to the position, while Mr. Graham was re-elected after serving the final year of the late Elbert Edwards’s term.
Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. paid tribute to the pair, noting that it would be Mr. Graham’s first four-year term, and welcoming Ms. Brown. “Rose is a very pretty addition to the board of trustees,” he said, telling her, “I think you’re going to find it exciting and challenging.”
The mayor also praised Bruce Siska, the former trustee who had been on the board for 11 years, including as deputy mayor since 2016, before losing a re-election bid. “We wish Bruce the very best and thank him for his service,” the mayor said.
One of the first orders of business at the meeting was the appointment of Richard Lawler, a trustee since 2008, as the new deputy mayor. The board accepted Ms. Brown’s resignation as a member of the design review board, but did not announce who would take her place. The heads and members of the design review board, the zoning board of appeals, and the planning and ethics boards were reappointed.
Michael Bouker, the deputy superintendent of public works, provided the trustees with a report on the village’s status relating to a state and federally mandated program governing stormwater runoff into separate sewer systems (known as MS4s). To prevent harmful pollutants, such as fertilizers, toxic chemicals, bacteria, and debris, from flowing into these systems, as well as into nearby bodies of water, municipalities are required to develop a stormwater management program.
Mr. Bouker said the village was in compliance with the requirements, which include controlling stormwater runoff from construction sites, identifying and eliminating illicit discharges from storm drains into water bodies, and providing filtration systems that restrict or eliminate pathogens from entering the water. The requirements also include public education.
The State Department of Environmental Conservation is developing new guidelines governing storm sewer systems, which will be announced this fall, Mr. Bouker said, “So we’re kind of on hold until we know what happens this fall. At that time, we will adjust our program to stay in compliance.”
Turning to an organizational matter, the board scheduled a public hearing on July 31 on a proposed law amending the residency requirements for full-time employees, not including police or other local officers. The current law requires full-time residency in either East Hampton Village or Town for a period of no less than one year prior to application for employment. The amendment will expand the range of candidates who have to have lived within Suffolk County for at least one year rather than the village or town.
The amendment will not affect the positions of village administrator, highway superintendent, code enforcement supervisor, a public safety dispatcher, or department heads. The law would also require these employees to be “full-time residents of the Town of East Hampton throughout their employment.”
With regard to equipment and vehicles, the board discussed a proposed new way to procure them, weighing whether to join a purchasing co-op comprising of New York municipalities. “Co-ops are offering much more competitive prices,” Becky Molinaro Hansen, the village administrator, said. Mayor Rickenbach said a decision would be made later in the month.
In other organizational matters, the trustees approved the yearly salaries for appointed officers and noncontract employees. They will go into effect on Aug. 1. A notice to bidders will be advertised for services ranging from cleaning Herrick Park’s restrooms to tree trimming and removal. Bids will be opened on July 24 at 2 p.m. at Village Hall. And, a request from the Fire Department to hold its annual fireworks display on Aug. 25 or, in the case of rain, Aug. 26, was approved.
Mayor Rickenbach ended the proceedings, which were held the day before the Fourth of July, on a patriotic note. “East Hampton represents all the good our country stands for,” he said. “God bless America, and God bless the men and women in uniform. So many of them have made the ultimate sacrifice. Because of many of those people, we have the democracy and the freedom that we enjoy today.”