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Jun 16, 2017 11:13 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Michael Irving Elected Southampton Village Mayor Friday Night; Hattrick, McGann Keep Their Seats

Village Trustee Nancy McGann, Mayor Mark Epley and Mayor-elect Michael Irving and his wife Ellen. Michael Wright
Jun 20, 2017 4:12 PM

Michael Irving, a member of the Southampton Village Board, won the mayor’s seat in a race on Friday, besting fellow Trustee Richard Yastrzemski, 477-379.

The two incumbent Village Board members, Bill Hattrick and Nancy McGann, easily retained their seats on the board. Mr. Hattrick was the leading vote-getter on Friday with 626 votes, while Ms. McGann earned 536 votes.

Third place actually went to write-in candidate Jesse Warren, who received 151 votes—three times the number for Valerie Smith, who was on the ballot, but earned only 49 votes.

Mr. Irving, 63, who ran as a member of the Patriot Party, said he plans to hit the ground running once he is sworn in on July 3 to replace Mark Epley, who served 12 years in the post and opted not to seek reelection.

“We have a lot of things on the drawing board to get up and get going right away—from environmental issues to zoning issues,” he said.

Mr. Irving said one of his first actions in office will be to review current local laws, including zoning codes, with an eye toward strengthening mandates for historic preservation in the village, as well as reviewing other codes that specify the roles of the Village Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Planning Board, Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review, and the Planning Commission.

As mayor, Mr. Irving will serve a two-year term and earn $25,000 per year. He also is employed full-time, overseeing the New Suffolk Shipyard and Cutchogue Harbor Marina, and can often be spotted around the village and inside of Dazzelle on Jobs Lane, a women’s clothing store that is run by his wife, Ellen.

Mr. Irving said that once he is sworn into office, he plans to apply his industry knowledge from the marinas, particularly when it comes to reducing nitrogen loading, particularly as it impacts Lake Agawam. He explained that he wants to push for the creation of a sewer district, one that would primarily serve the downtown business district, with the priority being to connect properties closest to the water. Mr. Irving also said that he wants to see what can be done to reduce the amount of nitrogen coming from homes, including those on Meadow Lane.

Also among Mr. Irving’s first duties will be to appoint someone to fill the vacant seat created on the five-member Village Board once he is sworn in as mayor. That person will finish Mr. Irving’s two-year term.

Mr. Irving said he had four people in mind for the job but wouldn’t offer any names on Monday, though he noted that he would be announcing his selection “shortly.”

“I’m looking for someone who is willing to dedicate themselves to the village,” Mr. Irving said. “Someone who is willing to take the time and review the issues. All four of these candidates that I have—[they] have excellent backgrounds.”

Village trustees serve two-year terms and earn $15,000 annually.

Mr. Irving said on Monday that he feels confident in his ability to seamlessly step in and run the village, as he sat on the Village Board under Mayor Epley for five years. Mr. Epley will leave office at the close of business on Friday, June 30.

“Certainly I’m not Mark—he’s a tough act to follow,” said Mr. Irving, who also served a prior five-year stint on the village’s Planning Board. “He was a terrific mayor.”

While Mr. Irving said he liked the way Mr. Epley ran the village, he noted that some things will naturally feel different once he takes over. “A different personality is going to have a different way of running things,” he noted.

On Friday night, Mr. Irving patiently waited for the ballots to be counted once the clock inside Veterans Memorial Hall on Pond Lane struck 9 p.m. His opponent, Mr. Yastrzemski, was there as well, as were Trustees Bill Hattrick and Nancy McGann. Mr. Epley also was in attendance.

After learning that he secured the top seat in the village, Mr. Irving was quick to point out that Mr. Yastrzemski was a strong opponent. Of the final tally, he said, “I was surprised—I thought it was going to be much closer. Both of us had very strong support.”

Mr. Irving and Mr. Yastrzemski, both of whom are lifelong village residents, were reelected to their respective board seats just last year, meaning Mr. Yastrzemski will continue to serve on the board.

Mr. Yastrzemski, 50, a nine-year member of the board and the longtime deputy mayor to Mr. Epley, said on Monday that he was disappointed in the results of the election.

“I’m bummed with the outcome, but it’s the way it goes,” said Mr. Yastrzemski, who ran under the Citizens with Integrity Party banner. “Michael and I have worked alongside each other for five years and got things done. I’ll give him the utmost courtesy and respect, as I gave Epley.”

Mr. Yastrzemski added that he was happy to see that there was an unusually large voter turnout—he noted that the election had a higher participation than any village election he saw since joining the board in 2008. He suggested that the high turnout was due to the controversy in the village trustees race.

Newcomer Valerie Smith, who lost to incumbents Ms. McGann and Mr. Hattrick, injected some drama into this year’s race after reports of her use of a racial slur while addressing a group of men gathered outside her Hillcrest neighborhood home last summer, and in a subsequent call to police that was recorded.

Ms. McGann said she was glad to hear the results on Friday night.

“I’m happy,” Ms. McGann said. “A lot is going to be on Michael’s shoulders, as far as leadership. We have a lot of things that we’ve started that we’ll be looking forward to continuing to finish them.”

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Congratulations all...
By knitter (838), Southampton on Jun 16, 17 11:25 PM
Same idiots just reshuffled. They all had campaign promises to change things. The budget is up 60% under this group and nothing has changed just spend and watch.
By chief1 (2312), southampton on Jun 16, 17 11:39 PM
God help our Village. The locals, the very few that are left, will be done under the Southampton Association leadership of Michael Irving. God help us. Just hope someone remembers to turn the lights out on the way out.
By workingmomof4 (19), Southampton on Jun 17, 17 12:18 AM
1 member liked this comment
The locals outnumber the rest heavily. We are in the village, on the hill, in nor sea and water mill and there's plenty of us left. We're gonna do as we've always done. We are gonna continue to live in our place on our terms and ignore the foolishness.
I'm was not happy with the Rogers Memorial real estate brokerage by Epley or his connection to the other real estate deals that seemed to be a conflict of interest. His son acquiring a building in the village for half a million ...more
By icecreamman (299), Southampton on Jun 17, 17 8:04 AM
2 members liked this comment
Valerie smith didn't win ?
By even flow (450), East Hampton on Jun 17, 17 6:04 AM
Valerie smith didn't win ?
By even flow (450), East Hampton on Jun 17, 17 6:05 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By jim (30), hampton bays on Jun 17, 17 6:12 AM
2 members liked this comment
She branded herself a racist. Just like you have done with your narrow minded rant. The community has spoken an they voted NO to racism!
By toes in the water (530), southampton on Jun 17, 17 6:46 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By jim (30), hampton bays on Jun 17, 17 6:16 AM
1 member liked this comment
So long Epley....Dont let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya!
By toes in the water (530), southampton on Jun 17, 17 6:47 AM
1 member liked this comment
The Southampton Association now has complete control of the Village. This should be interesting...
By Draggerman (650), Southampton on Jun 17, 17 7:17 AM
Mr. Epley, was never backed by the Association and he was in office for 12 years. TIME FOR CHANGE! By the way, "YAz" went around and put yard signs on lawns without the home owners permission. He never learned that thinking you are entitled doesn't get a person far.
By JM11968 (65), southampton on Jun 17, 17 8:59 AM
2 members liked this comment
the SHA has been infiltrating Village boards for years.
By Draggerman (650), Southampton on Jun 18, 17 9:56 AM
1 member liked this comment
Ohhh, that is why I saw many of his signs!!
By Mate (21), Southampton on Jun 19, 17 9:38 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Mate (21), Southampton on Jun 19, 17 9:38 PM
Thank Christ for Mike Irving !!!
By pw herman (661), southampton on Jun 17, 17 10:32 AM
2 members liked this comment
Elections are over, clean up the sign pollution...
By knitter (838), Southampton on Jun 17, 17 10:44 AM
Hopefully ALL village laws and ordinances will be enforced with no special treatment for friends of the Mayor as was the case with the Epley administration.
By bigfresh (2901), north sea on Jun 19, 17 5:29 AM
Same problem here as in D.C. All we have left is old re-treads with zero original ideas and a lot of shady relationships.
By even flow (450), East Hampton on Jun 19, 17 7:56 AM
Even flow, I always don't agree with you, but you hit it right on the head. Need community spirited young blood...
By knitter (838), Southampton on Jun 19, 17 11:01 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By knitter (838), Southampton on Jun 19, 17 11:02 AM