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Nov 10, 2009 5:16 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

The Wilkinson team prepares to take office

Nov 10, 2009 5:16 PM

In just two months, supervisor-elect Bill Wilkinson and incoming Town Board members Theresa Quigley and Dominick Stanzione plan to dramatically reshape the way business is done at East Hampton Town Hall, but right now, they’re huddling in a marathon session of meetings with elected officials, advocacy groups and department heads in the hopes of having a clearly defined plan for the town’s future by January 1.

The town’s plans to complete a nearly $7 million Town Hall complex using historic buildings on the front lawn of the current aging government building coincide with the new candidates’ taking office, and the group is very conscious of the pitfalls of coming to work on day one in an office complex that they decried as a waste of taxpayer money during the campaign.

“I find it embarrassing. I don’t want to be the one to have to take office there,” said Ms. Quigley on Tuesday. “I think the place is poorly conceived. I’d rather it became something else. I don’t know what you can do with it.”

Ms. Quigley, who is an attorney, said that Mr. Wilkinson’s transition team will closely examine what the town can legally do with the buildings.

Mr. Wilkinson was quick to defer to any plans that the town already has in place for those buildings before he takes office, and said that he would not pressure the town to do anything before January.

“I don’t want to in any way overstep the elected positions we’re going into,” he said. “But one thing I want to review is the contracts themselves and what we are capable of doing with them.”

The three new board members met with former East Hampton Town Supervisor and current Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman on Wednesday for an overview of the town’s policies and procedures. They plan meetings with State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi, East Hampton Town Comptroller Janet Verneuille, members of the town’s Budget Advisory Committee and department heads throughout town in the upcoming weeks.

“We don’t have that many days between now and January 1,” said Ms. Quigley.

Mr. Wilkinson said that he has sent a letter to Deputy Town Supervisor Pete Hammerle asking the town to appoint a contact person for his transition team, which is composed of East Hampton GOP Treasurer Don Cirillo, Len Bernard, who was Mr. Schneiderman’s budget officer, and other members of the community. The newly elected officials have been meeting at GOP headquarters on Newtown Lane, where they have extended their lease until the end of the year.

One of Mr. Wilkinson’s first priorities is to work with Mr. Thiele on a plan to float an additional $13 million in deficit financing, which must be approved by the New York State Legislature. Mr. Thiele was instrumental in shepherding an initial $15 million in deficit financing through the legislature last year. The timing of that financing is still uncertain, as the town is in the midst of processing a large number of inconsistencies in transfers between funds and the budget office is still months away from knowing the true depth of the deficit.

Mr. Wilkinson also said that he plans to begin work to rescind the beach parking permit fee within 60 days of taking office, and would like to sit down with the members of the town’s Civil Service Employee Association right away.

“I plan to have a very constructive dialogue with the CSEA,” he said. “I respect their members. I don’t think you can have a productive workforce without that. CSEA has to be enhanced as soon as I am in a position as an administrator to do that.”

Ms. Quigley said that the team is working on ways to run more streamlined Town Board meetings, and also plans to hold more evening and weekend meetings to accommodate members of the public who may not be able to attend now. She also urged residents to contact her with any suggestions through her website, theresaquigley.com. She blogged regularly on that site during the campaign, and plans to continue to use it to help make the public aware of her positions as a board member.

“I want to be a government of the people. That means we have to hear from the people,” she said. “We heard from a large number of them on the campaign trail, but we didn’t hear from everybody.”

Mr. Wilkinson said that he has yet to select an executive assistant, and the new board members are looking for a new town attorney.

Mr. Stanzione could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, over at former Supervisor Bill McGintee’s office, his executive assistant, Lynn Ryan, is preparing to return to her law practice. Both Ms. Ryan and Mr. Schneiderman’s former executive assistant, Eric Brown, were attorneys.

“Having an attorney fill the position serves a purpose,” she said. “If you’re new to government, it’s good to have a legal viewpoint of the issues. You may think you can do anything.”

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It seems the press is a bit obsessed with wilkinson
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Nov 10, 09 5:14 PM
Give Ralph Lauren a sweetheart deal--a ten-year lease from the town! Mr. Lauren can rename the complex Laurenhampton, and he can move all his retail activities there. Destination shopping! In exchange, he completes a historically correct restoration, rebuilds the parking lot, provides landscaping, and replenishes our town's empty coffers.
By P.A.B. (23), East Hampton on Nov 10, 09 5:28 PM
To dagdavid:

Obsessed? He will be the supervisor come January 1 and he is taking over a government in crisis. You have a current town board that for all intents and purposes is not functioning. Thanks to a one party system of government -- and an imcompetent one at that -- you have the biggest mess the town has ever seen. Mr. Wilkinson won the election with 67% of the votes -- maybe the greatest margin of victory for supervisor in town history -- certainly over the last 30 years. He ...more
By eastend09 (43), east hampton on Nov 11, 09 12:34 AM
The press has two major articles about Wilkinson They are promoting their new republican agenda to ease the sting of the Kabot defeat
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on Nov 11, 09 11:13 AM
To yearrounder:

There are two articles about Bill Wilkinson because he ran a terrific campaign and won with the biggest mandate this town has seen in a long time. The Republican agenda of fiscal sanity, reform and good government has come to town. It is as simple and elegant as that.
By Carole Campolo (46), East Hampton on Nov 11, 09 10:25 PM
Sorry, Carole, but the Republicans can't take the credit for decisions on news coverage. It's about change. Any kind of major change, no matter who the players are, who benefits from the change or who loses, makes an event interesting, important and newsworthy.

By easthamptoner (34), easy hampton on Nov 19, 09 4:44 PM
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