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Jun 10, 2012 8:35 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Three Candidates Will Vie For Two Seats In Westhampton Beach Village Election

Jun 13, 2012 10:45 AM

Three candidates will battle it out this Friday for two open Westhampton Beach Village Trustees seats while Mayor Conrad Teller, who is running unopposed, will maintain his seat barring a coordinated write-in campaign.

Incumbent Deputy Mayor Toni-Jo Birk is seeking her fourth two-year term. Running as a member of the Beach Party, Ms. Birk is being endorsed by Mr. Teller, her former running mate. There was some controversy regarding Ms. Birk’s reelection bid last month when former trustee Joan Levan challenged Ms. Birk’s petition, arguing that she missed the deadline to file it. The Suffolk County Board of Elections denied the challenge.

In order to retain her seat, Ms. Birk will have to beat out challengers Charles Palmer and Ralph Urban, both of whom are running as members of the Lightning Party. Mr. Palmer, a senior accountant with the Suffolk County Police Department, is making his second bid for public office after an unsuccessful run for trustee two years ago. In 2010, he finished third behind Ms. Birk and Village Trustee Leola “Sue” Farrell, the latter of whom has opted not to seek reelection this year. Mr. Urban, a retired music teacher who taught in the Montauk School District for 37 years, is making his first run for office.

Village trustees receive an annual stipend of $5,710 per year and also qualify for health and dental benefits.

With Friday’s election, control of the board will shift from the Unity Party, of which Mr. Teller, Ms. Birk and Ms. Farrell are now members, to the Lightning Party. Current Village Trustees Hank Tucker and Patricia DiBenedetto are members of the Lightning Party.

Mr. Teller, 82, is seeking his fourth two-year term as mayor. A former chief of the Westhampton Beach and Southampton Town police departments, the mayor makes $12,562 per annum. He also qualifies for health benefits but does not utilize them, according to Village Clerk Rebecca Molinaro.

Westhampton Beach Village residents will head to the polls on Friday, June 15, and can cast their ballots between noon and 9 p.m. at Village Hall on Mill Road.

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Will the Press endorse their choices tomorrow?
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jun 13, 12 2:24 PM
Yes, endorsements will appear in tomorrow's Southampton Press Western Edition.
By Bill Sutton, Managing Editor (117), Westhampton Beach on Jun 13, 12 5:07 PM