Tag Archive | "brian gilbride"

Seven Hats in Sag Harbor Village Races

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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. 

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. 

Bromberg Joins Chase for Mayor’s Office

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Two years ago the mayoral election in Sag Harbor was a one horse race, with Greg Ferraris securing his second term at the helm uncontested. Following the announcement that Ferraris would not seek a third term, this year’s race seemingly sprouts a new candidate each week.

And this week was no different.

On Monday, Sag Harbor Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Michael Bromberg announced his intentions to seek the office of mayor, joining current Trustee Brian Gilbride and attorney Jim Henry in the battle for the seat. Trustee Tiffany Scarlato originally announced she would seek the office, but bowed out in order to support fellow Sag Harbor Party candidate Gilbride.

For Bromberg the decision to run came from a desire to solve some of the village’s larger problems – namely parking and affordable housing – issues he attempted to champion through the luxury condo project at the former Bulova Watchcase Factory.

During the planning process for the now approved restoration and redevelopment of the historic landmark, Bromberg successfully negotiated two parking spaces per unit, despite that the village code only called for one. He also championed for on-site affordable housing – a battle he eventually stepped away from after recusing himself from a decision.

Both are issues he said he would like to take on from a legislative standpoint after what he said was a lack of leadership on both fronts.

“I have a lot more questions than I do answers right now,” said Bromberg on Monday. “I want an opportunity to talk to people and hear what they want before I commit to anything, but I know there are problems in the village with affordable housing and parking … I have seen a lack of leadership in terms of issues I think are important to the village.”

Bromberg noted the parking trust fund has not created more parking, and questioned why more was not being doing to line the coffers of the Sag Harbor Community Housing Trust, a housing trust fund conceptualized over a year ago to help provide workforce housing in the Sag Harbor School District.

 “These are some of the things I thought I would like to get a handle on and come up with some answers that we can all get behind as a community,” continued Bromberg.

Bromberg is no stranger to the need for workfroce housing, having grown up in a low-income housing project in Fort Greene, Brooklyn before moving to a middle-income housing project in the Bronx when he was about 10 years old.

He and his wife Margaret, a lifelong resident of Sag Harbor, have been married since 1969 and have three children, Isaac, Minna and Simon.

Bromberg has been a member of the zoning board of appeals since 2001, and has served as chairman since 2005. The attorney and law guardian for family court has practiced law in both New York and California since 1969. He has also served on the Sag Harbor School Board and with the Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps as a paramedic.

In addition to the mayor’s seat, two trustee positions will also be on the ballot this June 16. Trustee Ed Deyermond has announced he will not seek another term, while trustee Ed Gregory will vie to keep this seat on the board of trustees. Prospective candidates interested in any of the positions have until May 12 to turn in petitions with 50 resident signatures

 

 

 

Looks Like Three for Mayor

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With June elections fast approaching, it’s shaping up to be an interesting campaign season as three prospective candidates have tentatively announced their candidacy for the position of Sag Harbor Village Mayor so far. Current mayor Greg Ferraris, whose term is up in June, told The Express in early February he wouldn’t seek re-election. Also up this June are two village trustee seats, including Ed Deyermond’s position. He, too, said he would not seek re-election. Ed Gregory, who holds the other available trustee seat, is undecided.

 According to Ferraris, one of the chief reasons for his decision to not run again was the amount of time he needed to devote to his mayoral responsibilities while also running an accounting business in recent years.

 “The demands on the position have increased over the three years I have been here, and well over the six years that I have served on the village board,” said Ferraris in February. “[Village] issues have become more complex. The demands on the village board from residents have increased.”

 With the mayoral position up for grabs, the village board might witness a little reshuffling as two Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustee members, Tiffany Scarlato and Brian Gilbride, have announced their intentions to run for mayor — although Gilbride says he hasn’t yet made a formal decision. Also throwing his hat into the ring is Jim Henry, a Sag Harbor attorney, author, business consultant and a 2007 Democratic candidate for Southampton Town Supervisor who recently picked up a petition from village hall and has expressed his intention to run for mayor.

 Scarlato has been on the board of trustees for almost six years, and is serving her third term on the board. Scarlato reported that when she first heard Ferraris would not run again, she “begged” him to reconsider, though he remained steadfast in his decision.

 “After I finished begging him, I decided it was a possibility [for me to run for mayor,]” said Scarlato.

 Currently, Scarlato is an assistant town attorney for East Hampton, though she added she doesn’t believe this will present a conflict of interest should she be elected mayor. Prior to becoming a village trustee, Scarlato said she conducted extensive research to make sure her two positions wouldn’t conflict. Of her interest in becoming mayor, Scarlato added that she has the energy to tackle the position, and ample experience in village affairs. Scarlato was also one of the main village officials who pushed to update the current village zoning code.

 Among the chief concerns for the next mayor, Scarlato said the village budget would be at the top of her priority list should she be elected.

 “I think the biggest issue [for the village right now] is fiscal responsibility,” said Scarlato. “I would focus most of my attention on that. The board as a whole has done a good job to pare down the budget and be as fiscally responsible as possible, but it has to be kept up.”

 Also considering a mayoral run is Sag Harbor Village Trustee Brian Gilbride who has been a mainstay on the village board for the past 15 years, and served as deputy mayor for nearly four years.

 “I am still thinking through it, but I am leaning towards saying yes,” said Gilbride of his mayoral candidacy.

 Aside from being a trustee, Gilbride has worked for the village in many different capacities. In 1966, he was hired by the village as an employee of the highway department, which led to a position with the maintenance department. Previously, Gilbride also served as the chief of the village fire department. He feels that his relationship with the village will help him, if he were to become mayor.

 “I worked with a lot of good people [in the village],” he said. “I have an understanding of how the village works, and I look forward to help continuing the way things are going now.”

 Seven years ago, Gilbride left a position with Norsic, the sanitation services company based on Long Island. As a retiree, Gilbride reports he isn’t “the least bit worried” about the amount of hours the village mayor puts into the position. Of the challenges facing the mayor, however, Gilbride reiterated Scarlato’s belief that fiscal and budgetary issues will be the chief issues the village will face in the coming year.

 “Hopefully the zoning code will be put to bed … Things are a little tough with the economy, but we [the village] are very conservative and started planning a year ago,” said Gilbride.

 Although the other prospective candidate, Jim Henry, hasn’t served on the village board, he has run for town office (Henry lost the 2007 supervisor’s race Linda Kabot), and also has business and economic experience. Henry created the Sag Harbor Group, a consulting firm for technology-based businesses. As an author, Henry has written investigative books on economical mismanagement and also pieces for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Nation, among others. 

 No candidates have stepped forward yet for the two trustee seats.

 In Sag Harbor, prospective mayoral and trustee candidates are permitted to submit signed petitions beginning March 31. The elections will be held on June 16.

 Over the bridge, two North Haven Village trustee seats will be open for election in June. The trustees currently holding the positions are Jeff Sander, a Main Street building owner, and Jim Smyth, the owner of The Corner Bar. In addition, two seats on the Sagaponack Village board will also be up for grabs come June. These seats are currently occupied by Alfred Kelman and Joy Seiger. No candidates have yet come forward to announce their intention to run for the positions in either village.

Above: Photos of Trustee Scarlato, Trustee Gilbride and Jim Henry. 

Last Time for Grievance Day?

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On Tuesday afternoon, Sag Harbor Mayor Greg Ferraris, trustees Brian Gilbride and Ed Gregory, and Village Hall Registrar Sandra Schroeder sat in the Municipal Building’s meeting room and waited for local residents to grieve their property tax assessments. The afternoon is referred to as ‘Grievance Day,’ and gives village property owners, who believe their properties have been over assessed, the chance to plea their case before the village board.

Overall, there were only three visitors, or grievers, who made it on Tuesday. According to Ferraris, this number was a little less than in previous years, but he added that a reassessment was done a few years ago. A number of grievances were mailed in and then forwarded to the Southampton Town Assessors office. These grievances, along with the claims of the three visitors, will be reviewed by the Southampton Town Assessors office, as the village doesn’t have an independent assessing office. The Southampton Town Assessment review board will be in charge of reviewing the grievances.
Hugh Merle, a lawyer from Westhampton, came before the board to present a village resident’s claim. Before taking on cases of over assessed property, Merle hires a licensed real estate appraiser to do a thorough appraisal, at the expense of the property owner.

“I want all of my ducks in a row before I present [the case] to the board,” said Merle. “Or else it’s not worth doing.”

This was the first time Merle represented a Sag Harbor property owner, since he usually handles assessments in Westhampton. Sometimes, reported Merle, he will come before the board on behalf of ten to fifteen different clients.

This might be the last year the Sag Harbor village board will hold a Grievance Day. After East Hampton Town completes a town wide assessment at one-hundred percent assessment value, the village board will likely be removed as an assessing unit. With the current process, there is duplication because each grievance case presented to the village is always forwarded to Southampton Town.

“Even though [Grievance Day] is our duty, it is somewhat of a waste of taxpayer money,” said Ferraris. “But until the town of East Hampton completes an assessment, we will continue to hold a Grievance Day.”