Southampton Town Councilwoman Nancy Graboski accused Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst of trying to control her at the Town Board work session Thursday morning, while they were discussing who to appoint to different financial committees.
Ms. Graboski is pushing for the Town Board to reappoint the current members of the Budget and Finance Committee, which was created last year by former Town Supervisor Linda Kabot. Ms. Throne-Holst would like to see the committee abolished, and possibly re-created with a more specific mission and function.
During the heated discussion, Ms. Throne-Holst said that Ms. Graboski should reach out to her more, and also said that she wanted to interview different, new people for the Budget and Finance Committee. But Ms. Graboski grew frustrated, explaining that the town’s financial crisis is the board’s number-one priority.
“Do not try to argue with me and do not try to control me,” Ms. Graboski said. “Someone is controlling the gate for resolutions I want to get on the docket.”
Ms. Throne-Holst remained quiet and looked down at the table during most of the tiff. She urged Ms. Graboski to speak to her after the work session.
“I’m not sure of the source of your ire,” Ms. Throne-Holst said.
Ms. Graboski countered back: “There’s a control issue here.”
During the argument, councilmen Jim Malone and Chris Nuzzi, remained quiet. However, earlier in the meeting Mr. Malone said he was in favor of waiting to appoint people to the Budget and Finance Committee, supporting Ms. Throne-Holst’s approach to the advisory group.
Before Ms. Graboski broached the issue of control in Town Hall, she said the fiscal crisis discovered last year still needs tending to and replacing the committee members would be foolish, as the current members have already acquired a vast working knowledge of the deficits and faulty accounting practices that led to the crisis.
“There’s an urgency to this because of the fiscal crisis we’re trying to get out of,” Ms. Graboski said. “It’s very important to do our due diligence.”
Last year, the town discovered that there was a deficit in the capital budget that totaled nearly $19 million. Since then, that figure has changed several times as the town comptroller’s office has determined how much money was actually spent.
“Things are languishing already,” said Ms. Graboski, adding that the comptroller formerly gave the board weekly updates on the financial crisis.
Ms. Throne-Holst strongly disagreed, stating that “nothing is lagging in the comptroller’s office” and that staff there is working around the clock.
She added that it is not fair for Ms. Graboski to judge the performance of the comptroller’s office because the councilwoman has spent seven days in Florida since the new year began.
Ms. Graboski countered back that she has never been “out of touch” and spends hours each day on the computer researching and drafting legislation.