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Southampton Town Attorney Resigns

Posted on 18 February 2011

Government Briefs

By Kathryn G. Menu

Town Attorney Resigns

The Southampton Town Board accepted Southampton Town Attorney Michael Sordi’s resignation on Friday afternoon. This came days after some members of the town board sounded off on what they called negligent behavior on behalf of Sordi which they said could place the town in front of a $70 million court judgment.

According to Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi, Sordi’s resignation came after board members criticized the town attorney last week for failing to respond to a $70 million lawsuit filed by an East Quogue resident.

Nancy Genovese has claimed she was wrongfully detained and arrested after she was found taking pictures in front of the Air National Guard base in Westhampton in 2009. Because the town did not respond to the lawsuit, Genovese attorney asked the court to award the $70 million as a default judgment.

Nuzzi said it has been reported in an affidavit that Sordi experienced a death in his family, which may have contributed to the error.
Nuzzi confirmed that the resignation agreement, which was made official on February 11, grants Sordi compensation for 30 days of his annual salary, as well as monies for all unused paid vacation days. Sordi’s annual salary was for $115,000.

He will also receive health care coverage through May of 2011.

In turn, Sordi will be required to detail the ongoing town cases he was working on and through May of 2011 will have to respond to the town if they have any questions about issues he was involved with.

Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, as well as town board members Nancy Grabowski and Bridget Fleming adopted the resignation, with Nuzzi and Jim Malone voting against the package.

“I was happy to see we were separating ways, but on the other hand I didn’t feel one penny of taxpayer funds should be used to ask him to leave. In certain instances where malfeasance is not involved, I can understand negotiating a reasonable compensation package. I get that, it’s not a foreign concept to me, but in this case I found it offensive.”

New York State
Lever Voting Machines Okay for Villages

On Tuesday, February 15 New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. announced that legislation he co-sponsored relating to voting machines has passed both the state senate and assembly.

The legislation will allow for the optional and temporary use of lever voting machines in villages that independently administer their own elections. The use of the lever machines will be legally allowed through December 31, 2012.

“I am pleased this legislation has passed the Assembly,” said Thiele. “Although current law requires the use of electronic voting machines, they are not yet available for many villages. This legislation will allow villages several options as they transition to optical voting machines.”
“School districts are already authorized to use the lever machine through the end of 2012, and villages should be afforded the same convenience,” he added.

Sag Harbor Historic Preservation & Architectural Review Board
Outdoor Furniture Store Slated for Former Megna Glass Studio

At its February 10 meeting, Joseph McLaughlin, president and owner of the Oyster Bay-based Dodds & Eder outdoor furniture store, received approval from the Sag Harbor Village Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board (ARB) to renovate the exterior of his new business space at the former Megna Glass Studio on Bridge Street in Sag Harbor.

According to Sag Harbor attorney Tiffany Scarlato, who represents the building’s owner Fred Bernhein, the renovations will “mostly dress up the exterior” of the building, including re-shingling of the roof, extensive landscaping, the addition of French doors and new windows.
In other ARB business, James and Pia Zankel were approved for alterations to their 71 Jermain Avenue residence, including new shingles, doors and replacement of a rear stairway, railing and stone wall.

The next meet of the Sag Harbor ARB will take place on Monday, February 28 at 5 p.m. in the Municipal Building.

Sag Harbor Village Harbor Committee
Approvals for Two Wetlands Permits Expected Next Month

A proposed swimming pool and dock are both expected to receive formal wetlands permits from the Sag Harbor Village Harbor Committee at its March 14 meeting at 5 p.m.

C & C East Bay Associates, 100 Redwood Road, was given straw poll approval by the Harbor Committee at its February 14 meeting for a swimming pool at that property. Richard Patina was also given straw approval, for a proposed dock at 12 Notre Dame Road.
At Monday’s meeting, Redwood Property Holdings LLC was also granted a wetlands permit for a proposed second story addition at 96 Redwood Road.

Sag Harbor Zoning Board of Appeals
Survey Sends Attorney Back to Drawing Board

Concerns by Sag Harbor Village Attorney Anthony Tohill over two different surveys presented in Arleen D. Auerbach’s request for a lot coverage variance to allow for the final construction of a patio at her 18 Franklin Street residence ended with the application being adjourned until next month’s Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on March 15.
On February 15, Tohill raised the issue, mentioning his worry that Sag Harbor Village Building Inspector Tim Platt may not have seen the most recent survey of the property. Tohill pointed out that there are improvements not shown on an earlier survey that he believes may result in the need for more than one variance.

Auerbach is requesting relief from the village’s lot coverage law to keep the patio, which is not finished, but has been started with a poured concrete slab. Her current lot coverage, with the slab, is 35.63 percent, where the village only allows 25 percent.

Running through a long list of differences between the surveys, Tohill questioned whether Platt was able to review the correct one before determining what kind of relief Auerbach would need from the board.
Sag Harbor ZBA Chairwoman Gayle Pickering said it was her understanding that concrete for the patio was not yet poured when Platt approached the Auerbach’s to warn them they should stop as it would require a new variance. The concrete, said Pickering, was poured anyway.

Downes said he characterizes the “patio” as a “walkway,” as it is necessary to get to the driveway on the property, and as a walkway it would not count towards lot coverage .

“She has paved her entire front yard,” countered Pickering.
Tohill said he would rather the discussion continue with one, correct survey and the knowledge that Platt has had time to review it before the board moves forward.

In other ZBA news, barring changes to the application, it is expected that Gregory and Pia Ferraris will receive two variances to construct an addition to their kitchen at 67 Suffolk Street. The board also was in favor of two variances to allow Paul Caddell and Lance Gotko permission to legalize an existing deck at their 68 Garden Street home

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