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Jun 15, 2011 10:37 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hank Tucker Seeks Third Term On Westhampton Beach Village Board

Jun 20, 2011 12:34 PM

Thursday is normally a busy day for Westhampton Beach Village Trustee Hank Tucker, who has owned and operated Holey Moses Cheesecake in Westhampton since 2005.

The reason, he explained, is that he always takes that time to speak to each of his customers about what is going on around the village. “It’s my way of getting my finger on the pulse of what is going on,” he said.

Mr. Tucker, 50, hopes that ritual has kept him in touch with the needs of his hometown and will play a factor in successfully securing his third consecutive two-year term on the Village Board this Friday, June 17.

Mr. Tucker, who was first elected to the board in 2007 and whose current term expires on June 30, will be seeking reelection under the banner of the Lightning Party alongside running mate Patricia DiBenedetto, whom he came to know through several school activities. Last year, Mr. Tucker narrowly lost his bid to unseat Mayor Conrad Teller.

His previous running mate, Village Trustee Joan S. Levan, will step down from the board at the end of the month after deciding not to seek reelection. “Joan was a great asset to the village while she was on the board, and she will definitely be missed,” Mr. Tucker said.

Mr. Tucker has lived in Westhampton Beach for the last 16 years with his wife, Patty, and their four children, Bret, 17, Molly, 15, Ben, 11, and Will, 10.

Looking back on his time on the board, Mr. Tucker said he was proud of his time spent serving as the board’s liaison to the village’s Building Department, from 2007 to 2009. Particularly, he pointed to his working with department officials to initiate multi-family design standards, rules that set standards and regulations for new structures in the village.

“That helped to preserve the character of the village, and that is very important to a lot of residents and to me,” he said.

If reelected, Mr. Tucker said he plans to investigate possibly changing the health care plan offered to village employees—a switch that, he said, could potentially save up to $35,000. To this end, Mr. Tucker said he will see if it is feasible to switch insurance carriers from Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New York to the East End Health Plan, the latter of which is now offered in the Westhampton Beach School District. The village paid $922,000 in fiscal year 2009-10 and $1 million during the current fiscal year to insure its employees—a cost that Mr. Tucker said accounted for a “significant chunk” of the annual budget.

Mr. Tucker said this initiative falls in line with his continued goal of examining ways to cut down on village expenditures. “I want to continue to look at ways to cautiously examine the budget in ways that would save the taxpayers money,” he said.

During his current term, Mr. Tucker has opposed attempts to schedule disciplinary hearings for Westhampton Beach Village Police officers Joseph Pesapane and Michael Bruetsch, who have been suspended since 2009 for their role in an incident in which a fellow officer’s handgun went missing from police headquarters.

While acknowledging that there are some people who were “probably not happy with how I voted” on the disciplinary hearings, Mr. Tucker reiterated that he has always voted in the best interest of village residents.

Mr. Tucker has also been a vocal opponent of the proposed establishment of an eruv, an invisible religious boundary that, if created, would permit Orthodox Jews to push and carry objects to temple on the Sabbath. Westhampton Beach, as well as Quogue Village and Southampton Town, were sued earlier this year by the East End Eruv Association, which is now seeking the boundary’s creation.

Citing the lawsuit, Mr. Tucker declined to comment on the eruv. “My feelings on the subject have been clear in the past, and I voted in line with how other residents have told me they have felt,” he said.

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This guy is nothing short of dishonest.
By Summer Resident (223), Manhattan on Jun 21, 11 10:13 AM
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