A Night To Remember - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2160653

A Night To Remember

As we prepare to cast our vote in the upcoming election, I feel it important to recall the defining incident in the recent mayoral term and reflect upon it before making any decision.

What happened that night was quite simply the most astonishing act of political miscalculation to which I have ever borne witness. But it can serve as a helpful guide as we attempt to address the need for civil, unifying leadership in the village we all love so much.

One evening in December, I received a call from a friend inviting me to a ceremony at the Cultural Center. The new chief of police was to be introduced, ending an arduous, complex selection process.

Unfortunately, for a reason no one understands, this celebration was turned into a debacle by Mayor Jesse Warren.

It’s with some disappointment that I’m forced to recount this tale, as I’ve had a positive working relationship with Mayor Warren on a number of fronts, especially his efforts in support of the (ongoing) campaign to purchase and restore the movie theater. He was instrumental in creating the arts district and landmarking the building, actions that have kept alive our dream of returning our magnificent theater to its former state of glory. For this support I remain grateful.

But what happened on that night in December was so profoundly disturbing and confusing, it made it clear to me that we need a change in leadership.

In case you were not there, or have forgotten, instead of congratulating Anthony Carter as he stood on stage, beaming, in front of his wife, children, parents and the entire Village Police force, Mayor Warren decided to disparage and humiliate him. He then compounded the display of hostility by lashing out at the trustees for fouling up the whole process.

In one swift act, Mayor Warren took a room filled with admiration, respect and happiness and turned it to chaos, fury and embarrassment. There can be no sane explanation for this kind of behavior. (The mayor claims he had questions about Mr. Carter’s ability to place high enough in an exam to keep the job. But why not let him take the test, then see?) Worst of all, relationships with close friends were once again frayed when they should have been soothed.

If it had been Bill Manger running the meeting that evening in December, I’m sure he would have shown the civility and congeniality that would benefit the occasion. And we would have a chief of police.

Which is why Bill has my vote, along with Roy Stevenson and Robin Brown, who can provide us a synergistic, united board ready to go to work for all of us.

Orson Cummings

Southampton Village