By Tessa Raebeck
With just four people in attendance, the discussion at Friday’s meeting of the Sag Harbor Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) centered on recruitment.
CAC Chairman John Linder was joined by members Susan Baran, Eric Cohen and Bob Malafronte in expressing the need for better visibility and outreach in efforts to enlist new members for the all-volunteer group.
During the 1980s, the Town of Southampton organized ten CACs, volunteer branches of government designed for the town’s hamlet areas, in order to more effectively address localized issues and concerns.
In Bridgehampton, the CAC is a driving force on local policy that has dozens of members. With no elected government in Bridgehampton, the CAC largely operates as the hamlet’s vocal leadership.
Sag Harbor’s CAC, however, has enacted few legislative actions over the past several years and has seen its numbers dwindle. The town’s website lists eight active members of the CAC, but meetings this year have seen only four or five in attendance.
In cards designed by Malafronte to solicit new members, the CAC asks for those who are concerned, caring and committed to the Sag Harbor community to join. The cards outline the CAC’s primary areas of focus as the East Hampton Airport, water quality, pollution of the bays, over development and traffic.
“I would say our history – at least in terms of intention – is legislative,” Linder said at the meeting Friday evening. “We do want to see legislative changes.”
The group discussed bringing town board members Brad Bender and Bridget Fleming to future meetings as guests, in order to both let them know of the group’s goals and to draw in interested attendees.
A goal for the New Year is developing a community email list that would include the members of similar local groups, such as Save Sag Harbor, to expedite communication with like-minded individuals.
The CAC also contemplated visiting Pierson Middle/High School to educate students on the different avenues of government and how such grassroots organizations work.
“I’m always amazed at what people don’t know about that affects their property values,” said Linder. “If people know what outlets they have to participate in their community, they don’t have to participate, but maybe one day they will. Or they’ll tell their friends and neighbors – or somebody.”
“If we could just get two or three [members],” he added, “that would be fine, we don’t need a landslide here.”
The next meeting of the Sag Harbor CAC will be held January 10 at 5:30 p.m. in the Pierson Middle/High School library. For information, call 725-6067.