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Jan 2, 2018 3:27 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Van Scoyoc, Bragman Take New Seats In East Hampton Town Government

Peter Van Scoyoc is sworn in by Carole Brennan as the new East Hampton Town supervisor on Tuesday. KYRIL BROMLEY
Jan 2, 2018 3:41 PM

Peter Van Scoyoc ascended to the East Hampton Town supervisor’s seat on Tuesday morning, sworn in before a standing-room-only audience of town officials, family and Democratic Party operatives, and offered a message that focused on continuing the work that the previous administration had begun.

In his first address as supervisor, Mr. Van Scoyoc, who had been a councilman since 2012, pledged to carry on the commitments begun in recent years: improving water quality, pursuing restrictions on flights at East Hampton Airport, expanding town-subsidized housing development, increasing energy efficiency and reliance on renewable energy resources, fiscal conservatism, bolstering public access, and combating the local spread of the opioid addiction epidemic.

He said that planning for a new senior center and an expansion of the Town Hall campus would continue, and that the town would continue its push to rein in code violations.

Like his predecessor, Larry Cantwell, Mr. Van Scoyoc emphasized tolerance and constructive dialogue on issues that may divide the community, even as the Town Board is poised to be politically homogeneous.

“We must remain open to new ideas and be tolerant of our differences,” Mr. Van Scoyoc said in his address. “We must engage in constructive and civil dialogue while respecting each other’s views. We must care for the most vulnerable among us and work in the best interests of all.”

To that end, he also voiced support for the Deepwater Wind offshore wind farm development, which has drawn staunch opposition from many commercial fishermen.

After swearing in new Councilman Jeff Bragman, the now four-member, all-Democrat board—a fifth member will be appointed this month to fill the seat vacated by Mr. Van Scoyoc—settled into the business of organizing town government for the next two years.

Its members unanimously renewed the appointments of Budget Officer Len Bernard and Town Attorney Michael Sendlenski, both registered Republicans, as well as all of the current assistant town attorneys. They also fixed the salary schedules for town employees, appointed the citizens advisory committees and other advisory boards, and renewed a broad array of town policies.

John Whelan and Cate Rogers were re-appointed to their chairmanships of the Zoning Board of Appeals, even though both are considered to be front-runners for appointment to the empty Town Council seat, and board member David Lys was appointed to a new five-year term. Job Potter and Nancy Keeshan were both re-appointed to their chairmanships of the Planning Board.

But perhaps the appointments that were not made on Tuesday were of the most interest. Along with leaving the vacant Town Council seat unfilled—Mr. Van Scoyoc has said he expects the board to make an appointment at its January 16 work session—the board held off on appointing, or re-appointing, someone to the single Planning Board seat that is open, made no reappointments to the Nature Preserve Committee, and did not fill the role of executive assistant to the supervisor.

Planning Board member Diana Weir, a Republican who was appointed by former Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, is up for re-appointment to the Planning Board, but Mr. Van Scoyoc said that he had spoken with Ms. Weir and had “agreed” with her that she would not be returned to the post. He said an appointment to the seat would be made at the same time a new council member is appointed this month.

Mr. Cantwell’s executive assistant, Alex Walter, has said he will continue working for the time being, while Mr. Van Scoyoc’s administration gets up to speed. Mr. Van Scoyoc said he planned to name an appointment of a new executive assistant at next week’s board work session in Montauk.

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Congratulations and Best Wishes, Peter!
By Robert I Ross (238), Hampton Bays on Jan 2, 18 6:12 PM