By Stephen J. Kotz
The Sag Harbor Village Board on Tuesday wanted to take a minute to celebrate the long career of Sag Harbor Police sergeant Paul Fabiano, who is retiring next month, but first it had to wait until both he and his older brother, Chief Tom Fabiano, returned from handling calls.
On Wednesday morning, Sgt. Fabiano said both officers were called from the meeting to handle calls related to a reported manhunt in Bridgehampton, in which officers from East End departments, including Sag Harbor, converged on the Bridgehampton Turnpike and Huntington Crossway in a fruitless search for an armed suspect in a home invasion.
With the crowd thinned out, Chief Fabiano approached the podium to praise his brother, who interrupted him from the back of the meeting room, insisting there was “no relation” between the two.
“Paul takes the brunt of everything I give because he is my brother, and I’m proud to have him as a brother,” the chief said, before returning the favor. “He brought a lot of ideas to me; he just always forgot that my ideas were better.”
The chief said that Sgt. Fabiano had joined the force as a part-time officer and served as a detective before being promoted to sergeant and served a key role in training other officers as well helping establish the multi-jurisdictional emergency services arrangement with other East End departments that was pressed into service Tuesday night.
“He was always here for the village, always here for the department and always here for me,” Chief Fabiano said.
Mayor Brian Gilbride described Sgt. Fabiano as an officer “who has served the village with distinction for a good many years.”
“We really thank you and hopefully you’ll have some time to be with your family,” added Trustee Ed Deyermond.
“It was a pleasure to serve my time,” Sgt. Fabiano responded. “It was a path I chose early on. I saw what my brother did and I wanted to do it too.”
On Wednesday morning, Sgt. Fabiano said he entered the police academy in 1985 when he was 19 years old. He served as a part-time officer in Southampton Town for two years before being hired for a similar position in Sag Harbor in 1988. He became a full-time officer in 1989.
Sgt. Fabiano said after 25 years, it was time for a change, noting that a police officer “is always on call—not that you mind it” and that he had missed a number of family functions over the years, although he said it was a pleasure working this year with his daughter, Christianna, who is a traffic control officer.
After he leaves the department, Sgt. Fabiano said he would work full time in sales with Scan Security, a job, he said, that would allow him to come and go as he pleases but still serve the public.
Of his career with the village, he offered, “I’d like to think I made a difference.”
Harbor Committee Changes
In other action, the board accepted the recommendation of Mayor Gilbride and reappointed Stephen Clarke to another term on the Harbor Committee and named him chairman to replace Bruce Tait, who has been engaged in a one-sided verbal sparring match with village officials over their enforcement of the zoning code and the village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan.
The board also appointed John Shaka of the organization Save Sag Harbor to replace John Christopher and named Joseph Tremblay, an owner of Bay Burger, as the committee’s alternate member.
Both Mr. Tait and Jeff Peters will remain on the committee as “holdovers,” Mr. Gilbride said.
Before leaving the meeting early, Mr. Tait urged board members to read the LWRP and be ready to refer actions that have any impact on the waterfront to the Harbor Committee for what’s called a consistency review.
On Wednesday, Mr. Tait said he did not understand the concept of a “holdover” member, and suggested that board may be on shaky ground by allowing board members whose terms have expired to continue to serve.
The board also heard from Chip Dineen, a resident of Latham street and a member of the Southampton Town Transportation Committee, who said the village has ignored a promise made more than 15 years ago to mark a number of streets with bike lanes. He cited village minutes from 2009 in which Sinead Fitzgibbon, a cyclist, told the board that Ken Dorph had outlined proposed bike routes as long ago as 1997.
“I feel adding some kind of markings on the street would bring to the attention of motorists that there are bicyclists a on the road,” said Mr. Dineen. “How are we going to proceed and not let another 20 years go by?”
Mayor Gilbride countered, telling Mr. Dineen that he often sees bicyclists ignoring the rules of the road, but Mr. Dineen said the behavior of a few should not derail an effort to make the roads safer.
Chief Fabiano also groused that he had tried to meet with bike lane proponents on a number of occasions but had been ignored.
Trustee Ken O’Donnell then stepped in and said he would meet with Mr. Dineen’s group to see if they could reach some compromise.
James FitzGerald, the high school student who has been inventorying plant and animal species at the village’s Cilli Farm preserve, gave a follow-up report, and suggested that a basic trail be established, running from Long Island Avenue on the south to West Water Street on the north, with another trail cutting west to Glover Street.
He said the preserve has a serious problem with litter but said he thought “it’s a dumping ground because it’s not in the public eye” and that more public use might, in fact, discourage dumping.
Mr. Stein added that besides dumping, a number of homeless people have lived in the preserve from time to time.
The board did not take any official action on the report.