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Story - News

Jun 23, 2009 5:24 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Zwirn proposes action plan on town finances

Jun 23, 2009 5:24 PM

Mr. Wilkinson called on the current members of the Town Board to be vigilant in questioning the supervisor’s budget.

“I think [Budget Advisory Committee member] Joe Gaviola had some very important things to say at the last meeting, because he basically looked at the McGintee administration and tried to make a business analogy. A CEO with that type of performance would be at least limited in his ability to prepare something like that, with such performance in the past,” said Mr. Wilkinson of the upcoming budget.

“I think the discussions of the Budget Advisory Committee should be entertained by the entire Town Board. I would hope that at every opportunity, the members of the Town Board would rely on the independence that got them elected. Their responsibility is to the community.”

Mr. Zwirn said that he is also concerned that the town’s former auditors, Albrecht, Viggiano, Zureck & Company, had been complicit in certifying inaccurate statements of the town’s financial position.

“I have a lot of questions about work they did at the town. How did they certify these numbers, year after year?” he said. “AVZ sold the town software, and the town did not have the expertise to put that information through that software. There were personnel that the town had to hire to enter the data on top of the cost of the software.”

He said that he would like the town to try to recoup some of that cost from AVZ.

He said that his work with former Town Board member Debra Foster on an ad hoc civic group that produced a plan for East Hampton’s financial future that had many of the same elements as his own financial plan has also helped the public become aware of what can be done to fix town government.

Though that committee’s membership was bipartisan, Mr. Zwirn said that he was disappointed that only the Democratic candidates and independent candidate Prudence Carabine had given Ms. Foster a prioritized response to her group’s list of suggestions.

Republican Town Board candidate “Dominick Stanzione came to all the meetings and took copious notes,” Mr. Zwirn said. “But we’re putting things on the table and they’re still pointing fingers. If you haven’t got a plan to pull the town forward, why are you bothering to run for the office?”

Mr. Wilkinson pointed to his call for fiscal accountability in his 2007 run, his early backing of the town’s Budget Advisory Committee and his slate’s involvement with town issues and frequent presence at meetings as proof of his commitment to the task of running the town.

“We have been active on these issue for three years,” he said. “It’s about being responsible and being there.”

Mr. Zwirn also said that he was disappointed that Mr. Wilkinson has not yet agreed to a debate.

“We can debate tomorrow, anywhere, any time,” he said. “The more public forums we have side by side, the better the town will be. Let the people get the idea of who they want running the town for the next two years.”

“I think that the debate schedule that has been constant over the last 10 to 15 years is fine,” said Mr. Wilkinson, referring to the three debates sponsored by the Concerned Citizens of Montauk, the League of Women Voters and News Channel 12, all of which occur in the fall. “I’m busy campaigning door-to-door. I express my views every day when I go door-to-door and knock. It’s gratifying to share the reception we’re getting from the people. The vast majority is positive. The people are ready for a change. We have to arrest what’s going on and get this town back where people have some sense of hope and some sense of trust again.”

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I think in this day and age the people want more than three strictly formatted debates. The fact is we want to see the guts of each candidate's platform and we want to seem him defend it against questioning.
By Scratch (26), Sag Harbor on Jun 23, 09 9:05 PM
I think in this day and age the people want more than three strictly formatted debates. The fact is we want to see the guts of each candidate's platform and we want to see him defend it against questioning.
By Scratch (26), Sag Harbor on Jun 23, 09 9:07 PM
Wilkinson has been out there for almost three years laying out his positions and what needs to be done. Mr. Zwirn has been silent until two months ago (he did contribute to the East Hampton Democrats as recently as December 24, 2008 and thus the McGintee regime) so he needs any public forum he can get to play catch up. We don't need someone who needs to catch up, we need someone who is a leader and has been out front for three years. Check out the News 12 debate from two years ago -- Wilkinson ...more
By truthinbonac (46), Amagansett on Jun 23, 09 10:07 PM
Perhaps you didn't know that Mr. Zwirn is now the deputy county executive and has been active helping the county executive on many issues for the entire county and that would include East Hampton. And to the contrary, I haven't heard Mr. Wilkinson speaking up at all, no letters to the editor and nothing in any head lines. It seems more that while Mr. Zwirn has been working silently to help the county, and town Mr. Wilkinson has been, I guess tending to his business.

Indeed, while Mr. ...more
By Scratch (26), Sag Harbor on Jun 23, 09 10:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
I agree with Truthinbonac, Mr Wilkinson has been meeting with many local groups over the last 3 years, I have seen him in all kinds of meetings, Immigration and others.
Hope EH gets a great Supervisor that can clean the mess!!!!!!



truthinbonac (Amagansett)

"Wilkinson has been out there for almost three years laying out his positions and what needs to be done. Mr. Zwirn has been silent until two months ago (he did contribute to the East Hampton Democrats as recently ...more
By Bel (86), southampton on Jun 24, 09 12:21 PM
Zwirn has lived here for decades but 9 out of 10 people never heard of him.
Zwirn works for Levy who wanted to endorse McGintee last year.
Zwirn was blaming the economy for our town's financial problems BEFORE Zwirn is NOW blaming the Town Board and distancing himself from them. HOW SMART!
Zwirn was brought in by Deb Foster who knew there was money missing from the CPF BEFORE the election, but waited until AFTER to speak up.
Zwirn appears to be a well spoken smooth politician.
MANY ...more
By disappointed (96), wainscott on Jun 25, 09 2:58 PM
another one just like the other one.out with the outdated koolaide and in with the new batch.
By pinga (90), hamptonbays on Jun 26, 09 6:54 PM
To Scratch from the Harbor.

Mr. Wilkinson was living in Montauk 50 years ago. He pumped gas for Vinny Grimes when he was a teenager. His mom played the organ at the Catholic Curch in Montauk for 30 years. All the old timers in Montauk have known Wilkinson since he was a kid. To imply otherwise is an insult to all those Montauk residents. He is far from new to the area. Ask Bill Gardiner, he heavily touted Mr. Wilkinson two years ago as someone who knows the east end because of those 50 ...more
By truthinbonac (46), Amagansett on Jun 28, 09 6:07 PM