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Jan 3, 2012 3:40 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Board Republican-Conservative Majority Holds Off On Key Appointments

Jan 4, 2012 10:23 AM

The Southampton Town Board held off on reappointing Town Comptroller Tamara Wright and Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato to their posts at an organization meeting on Tuesday, drawing a sharp reaction from some board members and an accusation that the move appeared to be political.

At the same meeting, an audience of more than 70 people celebrated the swearing-in of a number of elected officials. Friends, family, town and county officials attended the oath of office ceremony, which recognized newly elected Town Board members, Town Trustees and Town Justice Edward D. Burke Sr. After the swearing-in ceremony, the Town Board approved a number of resolutions pertaining to fee schedules and reappointing members to various committees.

Councilman Jim Malone, a Conservative Party member, asked the board to consider tabling the resolutions reappointing Ms. Wright and Ms. Scarlato to a meeting on Tuesday, January 10, so that newly elected Republican Councilwoman Christine Preston Scalera could have discussions with both of them at a work session this Friday, January 6.

Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, a Democrat, and Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, a member of the Independence Party, objected to the move and questioned whether the board’s Republican-Conservative majority, including Ms. Scalera, Mr. Malone and Republican Chris Nuzzi, was considering hiring a new comptroller. Mr. Malone and Mr. Nuzzi did not support Ms. Wright’s original appointment two years ago.

Ms. Throne-Holst added that she didn’t feel comfortable letting the town’s two top positions hang “in limbo.” “We are talking about human beings,” she said. “We are talking about professionals.”

Ms. Fleming said that she couldn’t understand why the resolutions needed to be tabled. “I’m trying to make heads or tails of this,” she said after the meeting. “This appears to be politics.”

Ms. Scalera said she didn’t believe it was an unreasonable request. “It’s not this big, antagonistic thing,” she said.

The motion to table Ms. Wright’s reappointment was ultimately approved by a 4-1 vote—with Ms. Throne-Holst joining the majority members in what she described as a show of bipartisanship. Ms. Fleming voted against the motion. The motion to table Ms. Scarlato’s reappointment passed unanimously.

Ms. Wright and Ms. Scarlato are in a “holdover position,” according to Janice Wilson, Ms. Throne-Holst’s executive assistant. They will continue to work as town employees and will still get paid.

Ms. Wright, who appeared visibly upset after the meeting, declined to comment.

Earlier in the meeting, a procession of town officials was led into the Town Board room by a bagpipe band, the Peconic Warpipes. The elected officials delivered heartfelt speeches about the new year. Deputy Supervisor Francis Zappone hosted the swearing-in ceremony and spoke about some of last year’s highlights.

Ms. Throne-Holst delivered closing remarks and thanked U.S. Representative Tim Bishop, who conducted her oath of office. She credited him for originally encouraging her to run for office and for imparting a very valuable piece of advice: “Follow your instincts.”

“We live in a very special place,” Ms. Throne-Holst said. “I consider it my honor, my duty and my job to safeguard all of that.”

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So this is what the next two years are to be like?
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jan 3, 12 4:07 PM
Typical republican party bs. I am so sick and tired of this nonsense. Maybe Ms. Scalera could start off her tenure on the board by telling Malone and Nuzzi to keep their politics to themselves
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Jan 3, 12 4:16 PM
Hey now - the boys are just waiting for orders from Brookhaven. Lets remember that they do not have an original thought among them. Without Brookhaven out beloved SHTGOV would be lost!
By G (342), Southampton on Jan 3, 12 4:22 PM
too bad Christine was put into this position by her so called partymate. Miss Nancy already.
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Jan 3, 12 4:23 PM
Im a registered Republican my whole adult life, and can't believe what the party has become. When they appointed a business manager from the now defunct OTB for 150k a year that was the end of respect for the Southampton Republican party. This country is going down the toilet, and politicians play politics as usual. did you expect anything else from these political hacks?
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jan 3, 12 5:09 PM
Jim Malone started the New Year like the last one ended-he is a jerk.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jan 3, 12 5:09 PM
1 member liked this comment
I guess its egg in the face time for the independents who voted for Scalera hoping she might be a moderating influence. Turns out that Ms. Wright has proven herself has a hardworking civil servant who was able to quickly master the town's finances and help steer them in the right direction. That lady is bang for the buck. What has Kratoville accomplished in the interim? Looks like the boys might want to go back to the good ol' days of Heaney for the comptroller's office: Obfuscate.
Ms Scalera, ...more
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Jan 3, 12 5:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
Part of me cannot believe this outrageous behavior. Yet, the other side does. What can we expect from an opportunistic carpetbagger who moved here just for this. She will do what she is told to do if she wants to go places.
Does the GOP have no shame out here to reward Tamara Wright this way after all she did? Maybe thay can find another GOP-operative who needs a job like Kratoville did. Who gives a rap if the Town is pporly served as long as the "boys and girls" get their party loyalty rewards.
I ...more
By baywoman (165), southampton on Jan 3, 12 6:08 PM
I missed the point. Baywoman, are you referring to Bridget or Scalera or someone else? Obviously, most East Enders came from some place else. I wonder how you felt when you voted for Hillary Clinton for Senate when she was a long time out-of-stater?
By Tennyson (77), Quogue on Jan 3, 12 6:48 PM
Scalera only moved here recently after a career in several Towns west of here. Her husband, as I understand, is still a GOP Committeeperson in Nassau. They were hedging their bets. If she lost, I bet she would have moved on to another Town on LI for another opportunity. This place of ours is nothing more than a career move for her as far as I can see.
By baywoman (165), southampton on Jan 3, 12 11:11 PM
A) ATH is surprised that politicians act politically? Really?

B) ATH chides the request to table the respective appointments and says how it doesn't seem right at all - yet votes along with them? Huh? If you are sticking to your principles, vote what you believe, not what looks good on your voting record (aka bipartisanship).

C) Fleming agreed to hold off appointing the Town attorney as well - it was unanimous - so why the fuss?

D) If the Republican/Conservatives were ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 3, 12 6:57 PM
Scalera comes from Crookhaven politics. It looks like she is going to be bringing those "values" to Southampton. Preston is starting off with a bang.
By crusader (391), East Quogue on Jan 3, 12 7:06 PM
That's just knee-jerk ignorance, Crusader! She and her husband are from Nassau County, and she was a Councilwoman in Oyster Bay, I believe.

She only worked for a time in "Crookhaven," and relatively briefly at that!

That said, Brad Bender was still the far better choice.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jan 4, 12 9:03 AM
1 member liked this comment
Nuzzi and Malone are simply letting Ms. Wright know, once again, that she has no job security without their favor. They did the same thing a year ago when they refused to appoint her to a full term as Comptroller. Should financial irregularities require a partisan spin, they want Ms. Wright to know that they expect her to be on board.

It is fortunate for Ms. Wright that not all members of the Town Council are Republicans. Were it so, they would long since have kicked her to the curb ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jan 3, 12 8:05 PM
The same people every week with the same talking points, all republicans are somehow from "crookhaven". Didn't both Malone and Nuzzi grow up in Southampton Town and East Hampton Town? I know they are not locals like ATH...oh, that's right, Anna's not a local but her grandfather was a Norwegian knight! Royalty no less, I guess that makes her a local anywhere!
By Sug Tonmi (25), southampton on Jan 3, 12 8:10 PM
Chris Nuzzi was the Special Assistant to then Brookhaven Town Supervisor John Jay Lavalle during the years of the GOP scandals in Brookhaven Town. Yea, Chris cut his teeth in Brookhaven!
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Jan 4, 12 12:04 PM
Most of the comments are in disgust about what is going on, so why did Scalera win? You need to turn your disgust into votes hwover in the mean time perhaps an email campaign to our representivies will let them know what we think about it. The next election turn your disgust into votes for a persopn that will represent the people and get out there and spread the word.
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Jan 4, 12 6:37 AM
There is a consensus on this board between democrats AND republicans that Nuzzi and Malone are no good for this town.
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Jan 4, 12 9:34 AM
If Mr. Malone is simply requesting that all five Board members have the opportunity to discuss the reappointment of the Comptroller and the Town Attorney, why did he deny the same request when it was made a year ago when the majority appointed the Town Management Services Administrator, Russell Kratoville, without so much as an interview? If it is a reasonable request now when made by Mr. Malone as he suggests, why wasn't it a reasonable request one year ago? Is there any reporter willing to ask ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jan 5, 12 4:32 PM
1 member liked this comment
As for Mr. Nuzzi, he has no doubt spent many a sleepless day worrying over whether the Comptroller is doing a proper job.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jan 6, 12 3:20 PM
Tell us George, how much sleep to you lose each week thinking about Mr. Kratoville's appointment? And if it was so important to you and the Supervisor and Councilperson Fleming then, why wasn't it just as important to them now for Ms. Scalera to have her opportunity. If it was wrong then does that mean two wrongs would make it right. By the way George, Mr. Kratoville is apparently doing a pretty good job, wouldn't you agree? Happy New Year George and as a resolution, why not pick a new issue to ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Jan 6, 12 7:56 PM
Happy New Year to you, Neil, and congratulations -- you fell straight into the "two wrongs don't make a right" trap. That's the same argument Christine Scalera made, calling the opposition "disingenuous" for resisting review time now when they themselves wanted it so badly on the Russell Kratoville appointment last year.

Fact is, it's you and Ms. Scalera who are being disingenuous because, as you both well know, the two situations are worlds apart. The issue now is a re-appointment, while ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jan 8, 12 8:23 PM
Actually George, as you note I have been consistent in my position, so I don't think I walked or fell into any trap. I thought the earlier situation required more time for the interview process and think the same about this re-appointment. I don't see any incongruity between the two, nor do I see a distinction between an initial appointment and a re-appointment by a new Board member. In both cases one board member had never had the opportunity to conduct an interview.

I will note that ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Jan 10, 12 11:08 AM
Right. So you don't see the manifest and profound differences between the two situations, which calls into question your powers of observation. You only see that "In both cases one board member never had the opportunity to conduct an interview," which is wrong on at least two counts: [1] Last year, neither Ms. Fleming nor Ms. Throne-Holst had interviewed Russell Kratoville, and for all we know, the majority members may not have done so either, just taking their orders from the party bosses; ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jan 10, 12 11:30 AM
Actually, George, the Supervisor had the opportunity to interview the individual when he was being considered for the position that after he declined eventually went to Ms. Wright. As for the period of time between the election results and certification and swearing in, Ms. Scalera was not then a public official and had no more right to interview Ms. Wright than you or I. The bigger question which you at least alluded to in your initial comment here is whether or not Ms. Scalera will exhibit a streak ...more
Jan 10, 12 10:37 PM appended by NTiger
I should correct the language in the first sentence: as I don't recall whether the Comptroller position was declined or withdrawn from prior to an offer being given. But Ms. Throne-Holst did, in fact, interview him at that time.
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Jan 10, 12 10:37 PM
As we know now, the Comptroller was re-appointed by yesterday's Board vote, and I congratulate the Board on that. Nevertheless, this week's vote doesn't excuse or compensate for last week's unreasonable delay of this matter.

As to the Kratoville appointment, it's usually just when persistence is beginning to pay off in politics that the other side begins to complain about "harping" and "bellowing." It is paying off, Neil, contrary to your assertion that it was "not a winner" for us in ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jan 11, 12 11:13 AM
Keep that spinorama machine on high speed George. One Democratic incumbent was re-elected, the Independence Party member on the Dem line for the other Council position was narrowly defeated, but defeated he was. (Had he not been this particular issue would presumably not arisen). Had your issue been of significance to the electorate both Council candidates on the Dem line would have been winners(in point of fact the candidate with 3 lines[Dem, WF, and Ind. still managed to lose].

As for ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Jan 11, 12 11:30 PM
Maybe Ms. Wright's and Ms. Scarlato's extortion check, oops, I mean donation check, to Malones campaign bounced?
By Spinny OHO (94), Speonk on Jan 6, 12 10:15 AM
Let's see, the town was mired in a financial mess brought about by non-existent financial controls and head-in-the-sand mismanagement. Ms Wright, fortunately for every taxpayer, checks every credit and debit, and every account known to Southampton Town, puts in hours of service, rescues our bond rating saving hundreds of thousands in interest charges and part-timer, county-employee-first Councilman Jim Malone has the nerve to hold up her re-appointment. Disgusting.
By number19 (111), Westhampton on Jan 6, 12 4:57 PM
1 member liked this comment
Well, perhaps she checks up to a point. However that begs the question about when she knew the police overtime budget was rising like a song on the charts with a bullet. Whatever the safeguards that might have been implemented by Ms. Wright, like Everett Dirksen's(R-Ill) son-in-law, Howard Baker of Tennessee, I'd simply like to know from her and the Supervisor what did they know about the over expenditures in the police overtime budget and when did they know it?
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Jan 6, 12 7:51 PM
Board reappointed both officials. What do all of you alarmists have to say now? Looks like Scalera was *gasp* telling the truth. As for "Honest Jim", well I'm not sure he can be trusted. . .

Regardless all of you 'the sky is falling' folk should re-evaluate your positions. Scalera isn't Nuzzi.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 12, 12 3:19 PM
Hope you're right, Nature, that's what I'm counting on. Remember though, the vote this time and the stalling the time before are two different things. If it was the right choice, why'd they stall on it? You can call it alarmist, but the way this crew's messed around for years, it's no surprise we're very suspicious.
By clam pie (161), Westhampton on Jan 14, 12 11:29 AM