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May 25, 2017 5:28 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Ballot Nominations Announced

Former Southampton Town Trustee Ray Overton, left, is now running for Southampton Town Supervisor.  M. Wright
May 31, 2017 12:10 PM

Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, who is making his first reelection bid, and challenger Ray Overton, a former Town Trustee, will lead the ballot this November in Southampton Town.

Two other Town Board incumbents—Republican Stan Glinka and Democrat Julie Lofstad—have also been endorsed by their respective parties and will be challenged by political newcomer Thea Dombrowski-Fry, a Republican, and Sag Harbor Board of Education Vice President Tommy John Schiavoni, a Democrat.

Additionally, longtime Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor, a member of the Independence Party who has been cross-endorsed by the Democratic Party like Mr. Schneiderman, will seek his third four-year term this fall. But to secure it Mr. Gregor must fend off a challenge from Republican Lance Aldrich, who worked under Mr. Gregor as general supervisor until the highway superintendent requested that the position be eliminated in 2015.

There will be at least one new Town Trustee after Eric Shultz, who has served in the position for nearly 22 years, announced that he would not seek a 12th two-year term this fall. Town Republicans have endorsed incumbents Edward Warner Jr., the current board president, along with Bruce Stafford and Scott Horowitz, while both Democrats and Republicans have endorsed incumbent Bill Pell, an Independence Party member.

The Republicans have also tapped newcomer Don Law to run for Trustee, while the Democratic Party slate will include newcomers Gary Glanz and Camden Ackerman. Southampton Town Democratic Committee Chair Gordon Herr noted this week that his party has not yet decided who will round out the Trustee ballot.

Both parties have endorsed current Southampton Town Clerk Sundy Schermeyer, who is seeking her fourth four-year term, as well as incumbent Town Justices Deborah Kooperstein and Barbara Wilson. Ms. Schermeyer, who has held her post since 2006, current makes $109,242. Both justices, meanwhile, earn $71,207 annually and serve four-year terms.

Mr. Overton, 57, a lifelong Republican from Westhampton who served as a Town Trustee for two years before losing his first reelection bid, said that, if elected supervisor, he will focus his efforts on the western half of the municipality, particularly in the hamlets of Flanders and Riverside—areas that he says have been “ignored” by Town Hall.

“There are some very good hardworking people in that community,” said Mr. Overton, the general manager of Mulco Plumbing and Heating in Quogue, who received the Republican Party’s endorsement on May 24. “They’re desperate for improved quality of life. They’re desperate for improved economic revitalization.”

He added that his campaign will also focus on water quality issues, improving community access to government and addressing the influx of illegal drugs in the town. He also said more focus needs to be made on maintaining lands acquired by the town through its Community Preservation Fund.

Mr. Schneiderman, 55, who is making $108,243 this year and lives in Southampton Village, earned the Democratic Party’s endorsement last week and said he intends to run on his record in the fall, pointing to his fiscal management skills.

“I have a history of strong performance in terms of holding a line on taxes and working with the community to plan its future,” said Mr. Schneiderman, a former East Hampton Town supervisor and Suffolk County legislator. “I love this job. I won’t say it’s not hard work, but I do look forward to work every day. I do feel like, with this Town Board, we’ve been able to accomplish an awful lot in a short period of time. Things are moving in the right direction.”

Republican Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera, who is not up for reelection this year, confirmed this week that while she had been considering challenging Mr. Schneiderman, she ultimately decided that the timing was not right. She explained that she is the sole caretaker for her father, who is currently battling cancer. “I had to put my family first, so right now is not the right time for me,” she said.

She added that she intends to help Mr. Overton get “up to speed” on the issues, noting that she has continued to disagree with certain decisions made by the “administration” that, in her opinion, have harmed taxpayers.

Both Ms. Lofstad, 55, and Mr. Glinka, 47, live in Hampton Bays though they are enrolled in different political parties. Ms. Lofstad, who was voted into office in January 2016 in a special election to complete the unfinished term of former board member Brad Bender, who resigned after he was arrested for selling prescription painkillers, is seeking her first four-year term. Mr. Glinka, a vice president at Bridgehampton National Bank, is seeking his second four-year term. Town Board members earn $64,505 annually.

If reelected, Ms. Lofstad said she would focus on building more affordable housing, and cracking down on overcrowded and unsafe homes—two issues that, she says, are interconnected.

“It’s two sides of a coin,” she said. “One is lack of affordable, attainable workforce housing and the other side of coin is overcrowded and unsafe housing. It’s going to be a tough nut to crack, but we have to do something.”

Mr. Glinka said that, if reelected, he intends to continue pushing business-focused initiatives in the town.

Town Board candidate Mr. Schiavoni, 53, lives in North Haven and is employed as social studies teacher at Center Moriches High School. He previously served on the North Haven Village Board and currently serves as vice president of the Sag Harbor School Board. He also sits on the Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals.

In a recent interview, Mr. Schiavoni said his campaign will largely focus on environmental issues, namely those pertaining to water quality issues, tick-borne illnesses, and “quality of life” concerns.

“I have been in public service pretty much all of my adult life … ” Mr. Schiavoni said. “I really believe that I am uniquely qualified for this position.”

Joining him will be political newcomer Ms. Dombrowski-Fry, 50, of Hampton Bays, who grew up in Water Mill. She’s been employed as a teacher’s assistant in the Southampton School District since 2004, explaining that she was inspired to run for the Town Board because of her love for her community.

“I love the East End and I love the Town of Southampton,” said Ms. Dombrowski-Fry, who was previously employed for six years as a Southampton Village Police officer. “I want to give back to everything the town has given to me; I want my son to look back in 20 years and see the same things I see about the East End because I think it’s the most beautiful place in the world.”

This year’s highway superintendent race pits the current department head, Mr. Gregor, against a former employee, Mr. Aldrich. In 2015 and at Mr. Gregor’s request, the Highway Department budget eliminated the post held by Mr. Aldrich and, instead, allocated his estimated $171,000 in combined salary and benefits to hire three new employees, two drivers and a mechanic.

Mr. Aldrich did not return calls this week.

“I’m gonna concentrate on the positive,” Mr. Gregor said when reached this week. “There’s enough bad will with what’s going on nationally and internationally. I’m not really going to add fuel to the fire.”

Mr. Shultz’s decision not to seek another term guarantees that there will be at least one new Town Trustee come January 2018. Mr. Warner, as president, is earning $32,155 this year, while his fellow board members make $25,363 each annually.

Mr. Pell, Mr. Warner, Mr. Stafford and Mr. Horowitz will be joined on the ballot by Mr. Law, a Republican from Hampton Bays who works as a charter boat captain, and Democratic newcomers Mr. Glanz and Mr. Ackerman. Mr. Glanz, 64, lives in North Sea and is a construction consultant. Mr. Ackerman, 32, of Westhampton Beach is a communications specialist for BGT Consulting, a solar energy consulting firm.

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By Toma Noku (616), Southampton on May 25, 17 5:50 PM
Sacrificial lamb -- a placeholder.

By Frank Wheeler (1818), Northampton on May 25, 17 9:08 PM
By SqueakyWheel (28), Flanders, New York on May 25, 17 10:08 PM
Hmmm... wonder why nobody has endorsed gregor yet? Maybe because he's a Looney tunes screwball. How are those bags of coal working for you now? Dump gregor!!!!
By Dumpgregor (12), Hampton Bays on May 25, 17 6:28 PM
Bill Pell !!
Lance Aldrich !!
Two thumbs up !!
By toes in the water (881), southampton on May 26, 17 7:13 AM
"thumbs up . . . . " all right
By CaptainSig (713), Dutch Harbor on May 26, 17 7:16 AM
Disband this joke.
By even flow (935), East Hampton on May 26, 17 7:28 AM
WHOA!! Camden Ackerman? for Trustee? The same Camden Ackerman whos a paid lobbyist for the Hills, the golf thing they want to do in E Quogue? This is a Democrat candidate? I thought the Dems were against the Hills. What the hell is going on here? How did this happen?
By fidelis (199), westhampton beach on Jun 5, 17 5:42 PM
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