Appalling and shocking actions were taken by the trustees at the Southampton Village Board meeting of May 23 [“Trio of Walk-On Resolutions Take Aim at Mayor, and Mayor’s Assistant, at Southampton Village Work Session,” 27east.com, May 24].
Three walk-on resolutions were proposed by Trustee Gina Arresta in preplanned coordination with the other trustees. Andrew Preston, the general village attorney, and Mayor Jesse Warren had no prior knowledge of these resolutions.
The first walk-on resolution was in response to Mayor Warren’s resolution to eliminate lifetime health benefits for the mayor and trustee positions. This walk-on resolution requested that the board engage a third party to prepare a $5,000 study to evaluate term limits, compensation and health benefits.
Trustee Arresta belittled Mayor Warren by telling him the issue of lifetime benefits was only raised for political purposes, and that the mayor doesn’t listen to his own committees. She is wrong. The Finance Committee, at the May 11 meeting, recommended in writing that lifetime benefits be eliminated. The current trustees are opting to delay this resolution with the clear intent that they wish to continue to satisfy their own greed at the expense of village taxpayers.
The second walk-on resolution was a blatant attempt to strip Mayor Warren of his indemnity rights in acting as our mayor. The resolution, as proposed, recklessly added to the village’s exposure in a pending possible claim. This was clearly done as a political stunt to demean, belittle and scare our duly elected mayor.
Putting this resolution up in a public forum was unnecessary and blatantly wrong. If the trustees felt confidentiality was so important, why grandstand this to the public? The trustees also hired Vincent Toomey, the village labor attorney, to comment on this resolution. Since this entire charade is being done to further the political position of the trustees, the cost of the attorney should be paid for with trustee campaign funds, not by taxpayers. This is further evidence of the current trustees wasting taxpayer money on unnecessary legal costs.
The third walk-on resolution was mean-spirited. It reprimanded and threatened termination of an excellent village employee for allegedly working during business hours on the mayor’s reelection efforts.
The trustees could have discussed the situation in private with the mayor and the employee. It would have been clear to all that nothing was done wrong by the employee. Instead, they chose to frighten and intimidate this employee.
It is ironic that Bill Manger is running on a campaign of civility and unity. Imagine what actions these trustees could be capable of if Manger is elected mayor, and Trustees Robin Brown and Roy Stevenson are reelected.
It is therefore vitally important that Mayor Warren continues in office and Greg Centeno and Palmer Hudson are elected as trustees. I urge all to vote in the upcoming election.
One fine body…