Three residents have officially filed to run for the position of mayor of Sag Harbor in this year’s election on June 16, with four residents seeking the two trustee seats that are up for grabs.
On Wednesday, Sag Harbor Village Clerk Sandra Schroeder confirmed that zoning board of appeals chairman Michael Bromberg, incumbent trustee and deputy mayor Brian Gilbride and local attorney Jim Henry have all filed petitions seeking mayoral office. Current mayor Greg Ferraris announced earlier this year that he would not seek a third term at the helm of the board.
Joining Ferraris in retirement from the village board is trustee and Southampton Town assessor Ed Deyermond. Incumbent trustee Ed Gregory will seek re-election with Gilbride as a ticket in an effort to keep his position on the board, running against three other confirmed trustee candidates for two seats. The remaining are attorney Tim Culver, real estate agent Jane Holden and child psychologist Robbie Stein.
The three mayoral candidates have all presented largely divergent preliminary platforms, two seeking change in village government with incumbent Gilbride pointing to the success and accomplishments of the current board as the basis for his decision to run.
Bromberg, a member of the zoning board of appeals since 2001 and that board’s chairman since 2005, is an attorney and law guardian for family court, having practiced his profession in both New York and California since 1969. A former member of the Sag Harbor School Board and paramedic for the Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Bromberg said earlier this month he decided to seek the mayor’s seat in an effort to solve some of the larger issues facing the village, namely affordable housing and parking. The rest of his platform would evolve, he said, after speaking with village residents about what they would like to see the board accomplish in coming years.
Gilbride has served on the board of trustees for the past 15 years, and has been deputy mayor of the village for the last five years. He began his service for the village as an employee in the highway department, working his way up to a position in maintenance, before serving as head of the department of sanitation for the Town of Southampton. Retired from Norsic sanitation services, Gilbride has also been a decades-long member of the Sag Harbor Fire Department, even serving as its chief.
Gilbride said his decision to run was natural once Ferraris announced his retirement, having served as deputy mayor for many years.
“I think I bring a lot of experience to the table and I work well with the board,” he said on Wednesday. “I am a team player and that is what I would do as mayor.”
Gilbride said his main priority in the next year would be to hold the line on what he says was already a tight budget.
“These are tough economic times for the region and for businesses,” he said. “So I am not looking to increase services and costs, but to hold the line, get through the tough times and move on from there.”
Henry also cited the troubled economy as an impetus for running for mayor, although he brought a different perspective than Gilbride when it comes to Sag Harbor’s spending plan.
“I think the village is at a critical point,” said Henry on Wednesday. “We have a severe financial crisis on our hands and I think it is time for someone with my management skills and business background to take a leadership role.”
Henry lost his bid for Southampton Town Supervisor in 2007 and has yet to hold office, but offers a background in business and economics, as founder of the Sag Harbor Group, a consulting firm for technology-based businesses. He is also an attorney, author and journalist and was one of the founding members of Save Sag Harbor.
Looking at the budget, Henry said while he did not want to take away from the police and fire departments in Sag Harbor, those line items represent a large portion of the village’s budget. On the other hand, said Henry, there are a number of recreation, culture and environmental initiatives he would like to see the village take on in coming years, including making government buildings in the village more sustainable.
“Reforming the code and investing time in the Bulova project has taken so much management time, that I think a lot of issues have been neglected,” said Henry.Â
The Coalition of Neighbors for the Preservation of Sag Harbor (CONPOSH) will host a Meet the Candidates forum for the community, moderated by Sag Harbor Express editor and publisher Bryan Boyhan on Sunday, June 7.Â