During his first meeting as mayor of the Village of Sag Harbor on Monday, Brian Gilbride announced appointments to the various village boards, including the addition of former mayor Greg Ferraris to the planning board.
Gilbride named Bethany Deyermond, a member of the Sag Harbor Historical Society and wife of former mayor and trustee Ed Deyermond, to the village historic preservation and architectural review board in place of longtime board member Robert Tortora. Gilbride also tapped Gail Pickering to lead the village’s zoning board of appeals. Pickering replaces board chairman Michael Bromberg, who said this week he intends to fulfill the remainder of his one-year term on the board.
Gilbride, an incumbent trustee, was elected to lead the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees in June besting both Bromberg and local attorney and author Jim Henry in a contentious mayoral battle.
Tim Culver, a land use and real estate attorney, received the most votes of any candidate in his bid for a seat on the board of trustees. Culver and incumbent trustee Ed Gregory were also sworn in on Monday, along with Robby Stein, who Gilbride appointed to serve the remainder of his one-year trustee term on the board. Stein placed third in the election behind Culver and Gregory, with Sag Harbor native and real estate agent Jane Holden finishing fourth.
Gilbride, who served as village deputy mayor under Ferraris, named Trustee Tiffany Scarlato as his new deputy mayor on Monday.
Even so many changes, much will remain the same with Sag Harbor Village government, with Gilbride having appointed Fred W. Thiele, Jr. and Anthony Tohill as village council, Richard Warren as environmental planner and Paul Grosser as village engineer. However, with the appointment of Ferraris, Deyermond and Pickering to new posts in village government, Gilbride said he was pleased to see the new face of the village boards.
Ann Hansen, a 15-year veteran of the planning board, resigned last month leaving an opening for Ferraris who chose not to seek re-election in the last mayoral race.
“There is a lot of activity on that board now,” said Gilbride on Tuesday, noting the planning board has been contending with a number of large-scale development applications and will be facing the implementation of a new village code. “Greg wanted to stay involved and he has been instrumental in a lot of what has been going on in the village.”
“I have a great respect of the members of the planning board, and in Neil Slevin’s leadership as chairman,” said Ferraris on Tuesday. “Brian asked me and I feel it is a great opportunity to work with this board on the new code.”
Ferraris said he intends to bring the same “case-by-case” attitude to his position on the planning board as he did as mayor of Sag Harbor.
“I don’t have a predetermined agenda going into this, but I do think the new code will speak for itself and shape the way we deal with development in this village,” he said.
Gilbride’s appointment of Bethany Deyermond to the ARB means longtime member Tortora will no longer have a seat on the board, although Gilbride on Tuesday thanked Tortora for his service, saying it was time for that board to take a new direction under his administration.
“I personally thanked Bob for his service and I think he has done a good job,” Gilbride said. “I am just looking to move in a slightly different direction. I think Bethany can do that. She will work well with the board, she has experience as a member of the historical society and the Sag Harbor Ladies Village Improvement Society and she has done a great job restoring her own home.”
Tortora was disappointed at Gilbride’s choice, lamenting that he would not be a part of a board whose mission he treasures.
“I thought I was pretty darn good at it,” he said. “I really thought I did my best for the village and worked hard to make a difference.”
The local contractor, who said he has invested his professional life into ensuring Sag Harbor’s historic architecture is preserved, questioned why he was removed from the board and said he would still weigh his options. He hopes to stay involved with the cause he holds so close to his heart.
“It is my livelihood to preserve this village,” he said. “I moved here and invested in this place because it is so unique. My only recourse now is to ensure I can stay involved.”
Gilbride also replaced Bromberg as chairman of the zoning board with current board member Pickering, although Bromberg, unlike Tortora, will fulfill the remainder of his one-year term on the zoning board.
“I believe she is an independent thinker and has always done a great job for the village,” Gilbride said of the appointment. “I think Gail brings a level of expertise we need right now.”
“I think Gail will do a great job,” Bromberg said on Tuesday, who added he had no intention of stepping down from the board as of now.
Pickering, who was on the village planning board from 1990 to 1999, serving as chairman from 1995 to 1999, went on to serve on the East Hampton Town’s planning board from 2000 through 2006 before returning to Sag Harbor to serve on the zoning board of appeals.
“I knew Bulova was coming and I wanted input on the big projects,” said the licensed architect on Tuesday, referring to the now approved luxury condo project at the historic Bulova Watchcase Factory in the center of the village.
“I am honored to be appointed to the position,” she added. “I have enjoyed working with the current board and I appreciate all the comments input and expertise my fellow board members have to offer. The mayor has made his decision and I appreciate his confidence in me.”
Outside of the zoning board of appeals, the chairmanship of every other village board remains the same with Neil Slevin tapped to continue his position as head of the planning board, Cee Scott Brown appointed to lead the ARB and Bruce Tait appointed to helm the Harbor Committee.