Remain Diligent - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2009169

Remain Diligent

The Press has done the public a service by highlighting the erratic and arbitrary canceling and scheduling of public meetings by the mayor and the Village of Southampton [“Clock Watching,” Editorial, August 4]. This attention elevates the issue, which has frustrated many, beyond dismissals of personal grumbling and calls for the mayor and his overpaid administrators to account for their practices.

While this new crop of neophyte trustees is fond of targeting and excoriating previous administrations for their supposed sins, many of us recall and miss the seamless professionalism of Steve Funsch, the former village clerk who single-handedly did the job (now split among three people). He was always on the job, up-to-the-minute informed, generous with his time, helpful and a pleasure to deal with — and the place ran like clockwork under his amiable stewardship. If there was a rare cancellation or change in schedule, he made sure everyone knew about it.

During the Zoom exigencies, both the town and the village grew lightheaded by the decline in public participation. Way to go!

Now the public wants back in, and for good reasons. The village, in addition to the confusion and frustration caused by the willful scheduling and canceling of meetings, has put forth legislation that hasn’t been carefully vetted, nor made adequate provision for the public to see and evaluate what they are up to. With consequences brushed aside, they have buried announcements of significant changes — which affect people’s lives and their pocketbooks — in long lists of dross and rushed to “public hearings” in the same breath. Meanwhile, always espousing the desire for the public to participate.

The mayor has peevishly stated that the reason for the chaos is that they have so much they want to get done, skipping as a consideration whether the public wants what they want to get done — or not.

Diligence is the only recourse. The public must inform themselves, especially given this municipal environment, and attend the meetings — always assuming they can find out when they are being held.

Frances Genovese