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May 11, 2018 4:26 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village Board Members Change Residency Requirements For Appointed Positions

Southampton Village Mayor Michael Irving said it is getting difficult to find people within the village who want to serve on regulatory boards. GREG WEHNER
May 16, 2018 9:07 AM

Initially considering a plan to look outside Southampton Village borders to staff its regulatory boards, the Village Board last week dropped the idea and instead passed a “housekeeping” version of the law that means virtually no change in how the village fills empty posts of all kinds.

The amendment approved on Thursday night, May 10, drops the original language after village officials said residents were critical of the plan. Instead, it was modified to allow the village to look elsewhere in Suffolk County for candidates for positions like village administrator, deputy clerk, and appointed positions on the fire department, ambulance company and new ocean rescue team. Elected or appointed government positions are specifically excluded.

Prior to the amendment’s approval, the village had no residency requirements at all when appointing officers and employees, allowing for individuals who lived outside of the village to be hired for village administrative roles and service positions within the fire department and ambulance company.

“I don’t believe … that one will notice any change,” Mayor Michael Irving said in an email, explaining that, in practice, village officials regularly reached outside of village boundaries to fill positions, except for openings on regulatory boards and for elected positions.

When introduced earlier this spring, the proposed code amendments originally sought to allow Village Board members to appoint non-village residents to posts on the Planning Board, Board of Architectural Review and Historic Preservation, and Zoning Board of Appeals. The mayor said it was difficult to find men and women willing to serve on the boards, and that looking outside the borders would allow the village to seek candidates with professional training, such as architects, to serve on the regulatory boards.

That won’t be the case, but the new law does clarify that the village can fill certain jobs in Village Hall with candidates who live outside its borders. It also applies to committees like the veteran’s events committee, of which members are appointed by the mayor. But regulatory board members will still be required to be village residents.

Mr. Irving added that the amendment is only “housekeeping” to conform with state code. The absence of residency requirements for officers was discovered when Village Board members were reviewing the mayor’s proposal to seek candidates for regulatory boards who live outside of the village. Though board members abandoned that aspect, there were holes in the current code where residency requirements did not exist.

Boards like the arts commission and veteran’s events committees were already set up to allow the mayor to appoint members who live in Suffolk County. Other positions did not have residency requirements.

Village Attorney Wayne Bruyn said on Tuesday that officers of the fire department could previously be appointed if they were village residents or residents of outlying districts that the department serves, and the same could be said of the village ambulance company. The amendment now allows it to be opened up to all of Suffolk County, though it won’t be the board’s first choice.

“In today’s world, many of these positions—administrative, emergency services, fire and ambulance—require professional backgrounds that make it difficult to have local village individuals,” Mr. Irving said in an email. “While we will always look in the village first. It provides the ability to reach further in finding professionals.”

Board members did not discuss the measure in detail at Thursday night’s meeting, other than to put it up for a vote.

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By 11946HB (8), Hampton Bays on May 11, 18 5:00 PM
Anyone in mind???
By knitter (1893), Southampton on May 12, 18 12:44 AM
This is a move towards giving second homeowners more rights than they deserve This mayor is a plant of the SH Association/Bathing Corp crowd. SH Village voters have made a grave mistake by electing Irving.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on May 12, 18 8:06 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Draggerman (940), Southampton on May 12, 18 10:11 AM
I’m not too sure what the point of this is.

You need to live, or work, in the fire district to be a member of the village fire dept. to be a chief you need to be a member in good standing and meet other department qualifications. If someone doesn’t live or work in the district, how can they respond to a fire?
By Draggerman (940), Southampton on May 12, 18 10:16 AM
VB, followers, not leaders...
By knitter (1893), Southampton on May 12, 18 2:00 PM
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