For Southampton Village Board - 27 East


For Southampton Village Board

authorStaff Writer on Jun 14, 2022

Southampton Village has two seats on the Village Board up for grabs, and the campaign this time around, despite the fact that four candidates are involved, hasn’t had the level of acrimony seen in recent elections, nor has there been what is tantamount to “dark money” trying to influence a local race.

That’s good, because all four candidates are qualified and have village government experience, and all four have served with distinction. There’s no bad apple in the mix, which makes for a less stressful election for village voters.

Kimberly Allan is seeking to rejoin the board. Her loss in her last reelection campaign was a surprise, because Allan was a terrific board member who was active, not afraid to offer fact-based opposition when she felt it was warranted, and was willing to do the heavy lifting required.

William Manger Jr., too, is back on the ballot, but this time years after his first term on the board in the 2000s. During his time away, he worked in the federal government and has a steady personality that could be a balm for a Village Board that has had a tendency to act rashly.

But our endorsements go to the incumbent Village Board members, Gina Arresta and Joe McLoughlin. Come election time, there’s a standard question the editorial board asks: Should either of these incumbents be fired, either for cause or because there’s a distinctly better option?

The choice here was not an easy one, but that question provided some guidance. The truth is that adding Allan or Manger to the board would be a reasonable choice for voters — both are very good candidates. But Arresta and McLoughlin deserve another term to continue their work.

McLoughlin had a rough first term, after putting in a lot of time in the trenches of village government before his first run for office. He became persona non grata to Arresta and Mayor Jesse Warren very quickly after winning election with their support — but he seems to have learned an important lesson along the way about fortitude. Today, he presents as a lone dissenting voice on the board, and while that limits his effectiveness, it seems important to keep him there. With luck, in a new term, he will make a mark.

Arresta, who serves as deputy mayor, is an asset to the village when it comes to the finances — her push for a “rainy-day fund” with some flexibility really just repurposes surplus funds, but it’s a good bookkeeping practice. Her push for charging stations in the village is a nice project that’s manageable and truly does improve quality of life.

Moving forward, Arresta would be well-served to set an example on the board by engaging with critics — including McLoughlin — instead of seeking to demolish them. In fact, sending both incumbents back to a board that has occasionally showed signs of dysfunction is a risky endeavor. But despite the friction, or because of it, the village is getting work done. Neither deserves the boot — but nobody should think they can rest on their laurels, either.