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Aug 28, 2012 5:34 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Sag Harbor Trustee Resigns After Moving To North Haven In Wake Of Residency Questions By PBA

Aug 28, 2012 6:09 PM

Sag Harbor Village Trustee Tim Culver resigned from office last week because he and his family have moved outside of the village, rendering him ineligible to continue to serve on the board.

His residency was publicly questioned by Sag Harbor Village Patrolman’s Benevolent Association President Pat Milazzo in recent weeks, although Mr. Culver said that’s not why he decided to step down now.

The village has been mired in a contract stalemate with its police union and is headed for arbitration. Mr. Culver had been one of the trustees pushing hardest for the village to look to outside agencies to provide police protection on a contractual basis, a possibility that could lead to a downsizing of the force and possibly pave the way toward the dissolution of the department.

In his resignation letter and again in an interview this week, Mr. Culver said it was an honor to serve alongside his fellow board members, Mayor Brian Gilbride and Trustees Robby Stein and Ed Gregory though he omitted one, Trustee Kevin Duchemin, an East Hampton Village Police sergeant who was voted into office this year.

When all the other board members opted to press forth with accepting bids from outside police agencies at a Village Board meeting on August 14, Mr. Duchemin was the lone voice of dissent, saying he felt the village should return to the negotiating table, rather than seek outside protection. Mr. Culver fell on the other side of the issue at that meeting, although he said seeking outside police protection had to do with costs and was unrelated to the police union contract negotiations.

Mr. Culver’s letter was submitted to the village last Tuesday, August 21. At a special meeting that afternoon, only Mayor Brian Gilbride voted against accepting the resignation, saying afterward that he did so because he thought Mr. Culver had done a good job.

Mr. Culver and his wife Samantha bought a house in North Haven in March, though it is not clear how long he was actually living there prior to stepping down. When asked about it this week, he said that his family went back and forth. He still owns two houses in Sag Harbor.

He said that he and other board members had conversations about his residency and whether he should step down for several months, conversations that were not held in public.

“The board and I had talked about it for months, and, finally, it just seemed like the right time to go,” he said. “I stayed as long as I did because the board asked me to.

“I can’t believe people are interested in it. I’m not that interested in it,” he continued. “This is like the most uninteresting topic I’ve dealt with in the entire time I’ve been involved in the village.”

Mr. Culver was serving a second term on the board that was due to expire in the spring.

The morning after the August 14 meeting at which Mr. Culver spoke in favor of seeking outside police protection, Officer Milazzo wrote an email to The Press claiming that Mr. Culver was ineligible to sit on the board because he does not live in Sag Harbor. He further claimed that by continuing to sit on the board, it would cast doubt on the legality of any votes he cast. Officer Milazzo cited a section of village law that states that office holders must live in the village to continue serving.

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