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Dec 8, 2010 11:21 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Graboski Defends Kratoville Appointment

Dec 8, 2010 11:21 AM

A week after the Southampton Town Board’s Republican-Conservative majority appointed Russell Kratoville to a $150,000-a-year management position—a move many criticized as a rushed decision—Republican Town Councilwoman Nancy Graboski defended the move as one designed, in part, to halt what she said is an increasing grab for power by Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst.

Ms. Throne-Holst rejected Ms. Graboski’s claims this week that such a dynamic was brewing at Town Hall, saying that any sort of defense of the move by Ms. Graboski detracts from the fact that the majority made an appointment that circumvented town hiring policy.

Ms. Graboski said she was the one who initially floated Mr. Kratoville’s name to her colleagues in the majority, Chris Nuzzi and Jim Malone, as a possible appointment for the post, which had been cut by Ms. Throne-Holst in her proposed budget but was added back by the board majority. Mr. Malone and Mr. Nuzzi did not immediately return calls seeking comment this week.

Impressed With Background

As Ms. Graboski tells it, if everything had worked out the way she had hoped, Mr. Kratoville of Aquebogue would have been the Southampton Town comptroller two years ago.

Mr. Kratoville first surfaced on Ms. Graboski’s radar when he interviewed for the vacant comptroller position in 2008. The councilwoman said she was impressed by his interview and qualifications in governmental finances. She was also stunned by his knowledge of Southampton Town’s financial software.

“When I learned that at the time, I said to myself, ‘Oh my gosh,’” Ms. Graboski said of Mr. Kratoville’s qualifications.

Mr. Kratoville, a registered Republican, has served in various appointed positions in Riverhead Town Hall, beginning in 1991 as the vice chairman of the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals, a position he held until 1995. The following year, Mr. Kratoville was appointed by Republican Town Supervisor Jim Stark to serve as his deputy supervisor, according to his resume. He also oversaw Riverhead Town’s recreation department and senior citizens services program in that position. He currently serves as the treasurer/director of finance at Suffolk County Off Track Betting in Hauppauge.

When interviewed by phone this week, Mr. Kratoville acknowledged that he had caught the attention of Town Board members back in 2008. He said earlier this fall he recalls running into Mr. Malone, who had expressed interest in his qualifications, but had not made a formal offer for any position.

“He said to me, ‘Russ, you’re a person I think would really do well in Southampton. If ever anything came up in Southampton, what do you think?’” Mr. Kratoville said.

Mr. Kratoville lost out on the comptroller position to Steve Brautigam two years ago, Ms. Graboski said, because the board had already committed the position to Mr. Brautigam by the time Mr. Kratoville’s resume arrived. Ms. Graboski said the board had urged Mr. Kratoville to consider working as a deputy under Mr. Brautigam, but he wasn’t interested in that position. But instead of chucking his resume, Ms. Graboski said she hung on to it, hoping there might be a place for Mr. Kratoville at Southampton Town Hall in the future.

Fast-forward to 2010, when Ms. Throne-Holst unveiled a tentative budget that, among many other restructuring moves, called for the disassembling of the General Services/ Business Management Department. That move also included the elimination of the head of that department, the town management services administrator position—the position to which Mr. Kratoville was appointed in late November. Richard Blowes, who currently holds that position, is retiring at the end of the year under a state early retirement incentive. He will take a part-time position with the Southampton Housing Authority.

The Republican-Conservative majority thwarted Ms. Throne-Holt’s restructuring plan and budget by approving a slew of late amendments that reinstated both the department and the position of town management services administrator, at a base salary of $107,100, or $149,457 including benefits.

In thinking of someone to fill the spot, Ms. Graboski remembered Mr. Kratoville’s qualifications, she said, and ended up suggesting him to her colleagues. “I almost felt as though, to a certain extent, we had already done a search, although it was [for] comptroller,” Ms. Graboski said.

The public took the podium at a Town Board meeting on November 30 to denounce the move, calling it a political stunt, and slamming the board’s majority for not pausing to consider other potential candidates for the costly management position.

But in Ms. Graboski’s eyes, she didn’t want to let Mr. Kratoville’s talent “get away this time.” She also wanted to make the hiring as quickly as possible, to give Mr. Kratoville a chance to learn the ropes of the new position from Mr. Blowes before he takes his new post.

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What am I missing here? If the Board members are responsible for policy and the Supervisor, since that position is different than the others, is responsible for Administration, what is the power grab? This is a different quote than the one Mrs. Graboski gave to the Independent where she says something to the effect of justifying the move because Board members change and this will allow for continuity. Or did she mean, this will allow us to undermine the current responsibilities of the Supervisor ...more
By sirpoochala (78), Hampton Bays on Dec 8, 10 6:09 PM
1 member liked this comment
S/B "Gabroski" in the headline.

Shameful last-minute move by Ms. Gabroski and the rest of the GOP Troika on this and various budget issues.

Democracy? Not !!!

Sad for the lack of discussion, notice and basic human decency.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Dec 8, 10 6:51 PM
2 members liked this comment
How can there be a power grab by the Supervisor when the Republicans control the votes on the Board. Silly comment.
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Dec 8, 10 7:17 PM
1 member liked this comment
Not a silly comment, if you knew what was really going on. The supervisor has been trying to consolidate a lot of things into her office, lessening the possibility of checks and balances. Too bad the Press hasn't caught on yet.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Dec 9, 10 11:48 AM
Oh so YOU have inside information and know what is going on but the rest of us don't? How silly. The Republicons have 3 seats. Thats enough to do whatever they want. If 3 democrats were doing this, you would be screaming blue murder.
By littleplains (305), olde england on Dec 13, 10 6:04 PM
Now we find out who "floated" the name? When was that done? Was that a meeting that should have been public? Were the heads of our Southampton Town Republican Party present? Was there a vote between the gang of three?
Why was this done in Private? Answer that question Mrs Graboski!
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Dec 8, 10 8:14 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By BigOne (22), Hampton Bays on Dec 8, 10 8:21 PM
Very easy to fix! ATH does not have to let the new manager have ANY power or authority!
By BigOne (22), Hampton Bays on Dec 8, 10 8:21 PM
I've read the whole piece (available on Wed. night at the Southampton 7-11, for my wonk friends), and Nancy Graboski seems to be enchanted by Russell Kratoville's qualifications, making a rather impassioned case for placing him in this job. Three things, however: [1] Whatever Mr. Kratoville brings to the table, it's not unique. [2] Whatever Mr. Kratoville brings to the table, it didn't get him the Deputy Comptroller's job two years ago. [3] Whatever Mr. Kratoville brings to the table, it ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Dec 8, 10 9:28 PM
2 members liked this comment
It's pretty apparent what kind of "fool" you are, TB, with your continued tossing of "Tea Party" into a discussion in which it plays no part.

The actions of the Nuzzi-Malone-Graboski are naked and should cost them politically, though the new kid on the Board is the only one who won't be term-limited. Just keep this event in mind, and don't try to politicize it with irrelevant "Tea Party" garbage. That brings nothing to the dialog -- except your sense of anger.

"Gang of Three" you're ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Dec 9, 10 9:56 AM
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Mr. Wheeler, I'm guessing that you're responding to my comment a couple of posts below, at 9:58 PM last night, questioning why the Tea Party isn't weighing in on this. First, I share your take on the politics of this caper, but I don't begin to understand why you call the reference to the Tea Party irrelevant. They are the self-proclaimed guardians of the public purse, the scourges of taxes and government spending. So when the Gang of Three whacks the Supervisor's attempt to save big money and ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Dec 9, 10 11:18 AM
Fair enough, George (that IS you pictured in the other story, clutching your chest two heartbeats shy of apoplectic, isn't it?), but what does your bogeyman Tea Party have to do any of with this?

I've been out of it for most of the past month, so perhaps the Tea Party stole a march into Southampton Town. If so, I missed it.

I "get it" at how arrogant your Gang of Three has acted, and how (rightfully) outraged you and others are, but how is the Tea Party, or any Tea Party, involved? ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Dec 9, 10 2:20 PM
Fair enough, Mr. W., hope you had a good hiatus, and I appreciate your understanding and maybe sharing the outrage. You make a good point that I overlooked. After getting over my awe at the size of the Tea Party turnout for the parade, I do recall having just the slightest suspicion that they were imports, especially since I didn't recognize a one of them. Could be there isn't an official Tea Party presence around here. Still, as an astute observer of this site, I'm sure you'll admit there are ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Dec 9, 10 3:29 PM
The hiatus was directed, and therefore neither good nor bad in my view, just necessary. But thank your for your salutation.

Despite the apparent partisanship of the three actors who've moved this appointment, it would be wrong if it had been done by a cross-party coalition.

"Tea Party" seems to be your current most extreme characterization, and I don't think it's called for since there's no identifiable Tea Party presence anywhere.

To the best of my knowledge, I've never ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Dec 9, 10 4:27 PM
After further review, as NFL officials say, I read this week's newspaper, and took note of the Letters to the Editor about the Kratoville hiring,

Most interesting were three which incorporated the "Gang of Three" tar brush -- all three long known as Democrat partisans if not actual "operatives." (That would be you, sir, and the Beck husband and wife team.)

I would compare those letters to that of Mr. Bender, who thoroughly articulated his point without the use of "soundbyte characterizations" ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Dec 10, 10 9:21 AM
OK, a couple of points: [1] As far as the future of the term-limited Nancy Graboski and Chris Nuzzi is concerned, you seem to be looking only at elective office, but they could either or both of them be hoping for a sinecure at the Water Authority, the Board of Elections, or OTB (whence comes the estimable Mr. Kratoville), all reliable rest homes for the party faithful. Credit for this insight goes another commenter, baywoman, posting under the piece about Kratoville's litigation history, where ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Dec 10, 10 12:19 PM
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Hadn't thought about SCWA, but you (and she) are probably correct -- the other two, along with the Public Service Commission, are what the Beach Blogger has several times refereed to as the "biggest repository of political hacks around." So yes, while Mrs. Graboski didn't seem the type to aspire to such a position, that may be in the "tea leaves" (he writes, advisedly) for her now.

Mr. Nuzzi has always seemed as if he'd like to head to the County after this, perhaps even the state -- but ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Dec 10, 10 12:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By allenfein (72), Southampton on Dec 8, 10 9:35 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By allenfein (72), Southampton on Dec 8, 10 9:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
I wonder what Ms. Graboski will say to the dreaded Tea Party over this $150,000-a-year extravagance. And that's taking only the boss's comp into account -- there's also the expense of a whole Town department, revived Lazarus-fashion, to consider. When the Tea Party gets wind of this one, look out! Unless of course they're extending a little philosophical courtesy to their Republican and Conservative co-religionists and giving the whole thing a pass. You baggers wouldn't be doing anything like ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Dec 8, 10 9:58 PM
Tea Party doesn't care... they only want to limit government when it suits their insane agenda. What a farce.
By littleplains (305), olde england on Dec 13, 10 6:05 PM
ok ok we get it.. it's not about us..(the taxpayers..) it's about you ..! you've made that clear.. Town Republican "business" as usual... Skip would be proud. Now will Chris (or Nancy ?) "man up" and announce their running for Town Supervisior and let us get started on the Coronation and PAYING Tribute !.. cause we don't actually think you guys are gonna do anything for us, just cost us. (BTW, this isn't sour grapes nor am I a Democrat.. cause God knows there's no obvious evidence of an organized ...more
By wggorilla (4), Hampton Bays on Dec 9, 10 12:32 AM
> "there's no obvious evidence of an organized ...more Democractic party in Southampton Town anymore."

Not that I agree with your thesis, but who's fault would that be?
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Dec 9, 10 9:59 AM
Just so it's right here where everyone can see, as modified with the help of my new mentor, Mr. Frank Wheeler, my question is: WHERE ARE ALL THE FISCAL CONSERVATIVES? Why aren't you guys talking about this? Surely you're not giving this extravagance a pass just because it was perpetrated by two Republicans and a Conservative? Say it ain't so!
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Dec 10, 10 12:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
Take care of your "friends".

Isn't that the local party motto?
By Mr. Z (11842), North Sea on Dec 11, 10 2:17 PM
Good Question Turkey Bridge. Where are all the angry fiscal conservatives? Why aren't they waving their flags outside town hall?
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Dec 12, 10 3:10 PM
see previous post. Because they are hypocrites - plain and simple. there's just no way to justify this as "pushing back against a power grab"... when YOU have the power! Just keeps getting better around here all the time.
By littleplains (305), olde england on Dec 13, 10 6:07 PM
Regardless of how one personal opinion is about being qualified, as a government you are responsable to follow the rules and the position should have been advertised and opened up to all potential candidates. As we are in a recession there are many unemployeed persons including some very smart white collar workers. Possibly smarter that this person and maybe not politically motivated. There are many retired fiance people out of Wall St seeking second jobs that could possibly trump KratovilleWhy ...more
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Dec 14, 10 6:48 AM
Why didn't the Town Council advertise the position, interview candidates, and then vote for Kratoville as they intended all along. This is the way its usually done with high profile positions that are really patronage plums. It wastes time but preserves the illusion of fair play. Voting for Kratoville out-of-the-blue like this highlights the fact that the Republicans feel so secure that they don't give a rap about p.r.
By highhatsize (4216), East Quogue on Dec 14, 10 10:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
Politicians are like contraceptives. They give you a sense of security while you're being screwed.
By allenfein (72), Southampton on Dec 15, 10 7:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
I'm so glad to see how many members of our community are speaking out and sharing opinions no matter how varied they may be. Thankfully, we are not forced to operate within a jaded system where political tactics,bickering,ego's and obstructionism ensure that very little of what we the people want ever gets done. We all need to educate ourselves to what is really going on,ask questions and not simply defend "our side" and bash the opposition. We need to keep them honest and remind them they work ...more
By ConcernedEastEnd (2), Sag Harbor on Dec 15, 10 7:44 PM
The honesty and integrity of both sides need to be put in check by all of us and the next meeting. It was wrong of our republican board members to appoint Mr. Kratoville without using the proper hiring policy, period. Where is the integrity of our supervisor as well. Before any of us knew anything about it her proposed budget cut out our towns Business Management Department and would centralize the operation control under the authority of Deputy Supervisor. This "cut" would not have saved us anything, ...more
By ConcernedEastEnd (2), Sag Harbor on Dec 15, 10 8:12 PM
It seems to me that whole the jist of it is that Ms. Throne-Holst wanted to save the taxpayers $150,000 and the majority wanted to get one of theirs on board.
I believe downsizing government is always the better choice.
By Johnny Nova (83), Northampton on Dec 15, 10 9:15 PM
1 member liked this comment
Wow.....humm....It seems to me that the problem in our Southampton Town Hall is the fact that ther is only one of the sides in power. I mean from the board down....The GOP own Southampton Town Hall.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Dec 15, 10 9:16 PM
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Goosestepping Republicans follow a national party agenda of cronyism and scorched earth politics while seemingly well-meaning but incompetent democrats fumble and bumble their way through their terms of office. Meanwhile Graboski hypocritically positions herself for a "power grabbing" run for supervisor.

It would be funny if it wasn't so sad and pathetic.
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Dec 15, 10 10:10 PM
The only Democrat on the Southampton Town Board is Bridget Fleming. I have met her, and have heard her speak and she is far from incompetent. She is acomplished and really smart.
By the way, goosestepping Republicans, I think, is a bit much. They do, however have a strangle-hold on Southampton Town Hall.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Dec 16, 10 10:43 AM
Thorne-Holst is a Democrat.

inadequate for or unsuited to a particular purpose or application

intransitive verb
to practice an unthinking conformity
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Dec 16, 10 1:32 PM
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Anna Throne-Holst is a member of the Independence Party, not a Democrat.
Goose step is the march used by the German Army under the Nazi's. I thought that the NAZI thing was a bit much.....but unthinking conformity...yes, the GOP of Southampton Town board is acting in unthinking conformity.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Dec 16, 10 8:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
ATH was endorsed by the Democratic party and their candidate for Supervisor.
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Dec 17, 10 8:53 PM
In that same election Throne-Holst, Nuzzi and Malone were also endorsed by the Independence Party, so by your same thinking, they could be described as "Independence Party" candidates.

You should probably stop chasing a bad hand.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Dec 29, 10 9:04 AM
By the very fact of their endorsement they were independent party candidates.

Happy that I was able to light that bulb for you.
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Dec 29, 10 2:38 PM
Is this a Kratovillegate,,,,,,,,,,,,
By Christy (2), Hampton Bays on Dec 31, 10 4:36 PM