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Jun 15, 2012 9:46 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Palmer And Urban Win Westhampton Beach Village Trustee Election; No Surprises In Quogue

Jun 20, 2012 1:12 PM

The Lightning Party narrowly swept Friday’s election in Westhampton Beach Village, with challenger Charlie Palmer besting current Deputy Mayor Toni-Jo Birk by just two votes, to lock up four of five seats on the Village Board for at least the next year.

Mr. Palmer’s running mate, Ralph Urban, a retired music teacher who was making his first bid for public office, was the top finisher in Friday’s race, as he received 252 votes to secure his two-year term. Mr. Palmer, a senior accountant with the Suffolk County Police Department, collected 190 votes, two more than Ms. Birk, who was seeking her fourth term of office. She received 188 votes.

“It is what we have been campaigning on,” Mr. Urban said shortly after the election results were announced at Village Hall at around 9:15 p.m. on Friday. “Positive communication to move forward. Communication with residents, and other boards.”

Mr. Urban, 63, who was employed by the Montauk School District for 37 years prior to retiring last year, and Mr. Palmer, 55, will take office next month and will join fellow Lightning Party members and Village Trustees Hank Tucker and Patricia DiBenedetto. Westhampton Beach Mayor Conrad Teller, who ran as a member of the Unity Party and was unopposed in his reelection bid on Friday, received 216 votes to secure his fourth two-year term.

“It is my pleasure to serve the residents of Westhampton Beach,” said Mr. Palmer, who made an unsuccessful run for village trustee two years ago, after the results were announced on Friday night. “Hopefully, we can bring better functionality to the board.”

Throughout their campaigns, both Mr. Urban and Mr. Palmer have promised to bring more transparency to the board, with Mr. Palmer stressing that village trustees must get the public more involved during the budget process. Additionally, he wants to improve communication between the board and the Westhampton Beach Police Department. Mr. Urban, meanwhile, said he is interested in getting the ball rolling on a proposed sewer district project.

Ms. Birk, who did not say much after Friday’s votes were tallied, said on Monday that she would not be seeking a recount. Ms. Birk, who has served on the board since 2006, added that she plans to remain active in the community and will take some time to consider her options for the future.

“The voters spoke on Friday,” she said. “I believe that when one door closes, another one opens. I will wait and see what opportunities come my way and see what happens in the future.”

On Monday, Mr. Teller said he is happy to be serving the village for another two years. Though he would have liked to have seen his former running mate, Ms. Birk, returned to office, the mayor said he is looking forward to the opportunity to work with the two new board members. Mr. Teller added that he supports Ms. Birk’s decision not to seek a recount. “I would say that the election was run very well upstairs,” he said. “She is the one running, and it was ultimately her decision, so I support that.”

Though he will now be in the minority, Mr. Teller said he is optimistic about his next term, noting that he does not foresee any major disruptions to daily life in the village.

“I would like to continue with the responsible management of the community and keep the infrastructure together without running into any major financial problems,” he said. “I know we will have our normal legal problems regardless, so I would just like to keep the village as it is and have a little growth here and there.”

Quogue Village

In Quogue Village, all three incumbents—Mayor Peter Sartorius and Village Trustees Kimberley Payne and Jeanette Obser—were unopposed and won reelection on Friday.

Mr. Sartorius, who was seeking his second two-year term, received 44 votes. Mr. Payne, who has been serving since 2006, was reelected to his fourth two-year term with 49 votes, and Jeanette Obser, who has served as trustee since 2002, won her sixth term with 42 votes.

“Thank you to all of the people that came out and voted during an uncontested election,” Mr. Sartorius said on Monday. “I am looking forward to another two years of serving as their mayor.”

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Let's practice what we preach and move this village along. Next to go is the Mayor.
By realistic (472), westhampton on Jun 15, 12 10:09 PM
Perhaps 'move this village along' is too harsh; during the Mayor's recent office WHB got sorely needed sidewalks and a library that wasn't architecturally or functionally obsolete the day it opened. For me, his biggest contribution is keeping the village from turning into a border town. And he is always informally accessible to you for your concerns during breakfast, dog walks, etc. Let's not suggest the village hasn't moved along; let's applaud that it hasn't slipped back. I wish I was a village ...more
By Speonk Shores (31), Remsenburg on Jun 16, 12 5:48 AM
SpeonkShores is correct-WHB improved under the current Mayor. Hopefully he gets some support to keep up the good work.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jun 16, 12 12:46 PM
Sure- the Mayor did great. Look at the $$ the police chief got for signing back onto his contract. I'll bet he thinks the Mayor is doing great also. As a tax payor of this Village- who BTW just got another increase- I want to see a more friendly business environment and a stop on the nepotism that is all to prevalent in this Village. The buck stops at the Mayor!!! He allows it to continue.
By realistic (472), westhampton on Jun 17, 12 10:09 AM
Nepotism and friends policy has served the Village very well for many years. Why mess with sucess. Your tax increase was one of the smallest on the east end.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jun 17, 12 10:45 AM
really- provide your address and I'll send you the 10 percent increase. Or. Are you one of those "friends" that's living off my hard earned dollars.... you are exactly what needs to be eliminated.
By realistic (472), westhampton on Jun 17, 12 10:35 PM
Speonk Shores - the Mayor will be surprised to hear he is responsible for the Library. He and his supporters (Dean Speir) have been calling the Library a waste of money and blaming it on the Mayor's political opponents: Joan Levan and Hank Tucker. I like the new Library but the credit for it certainly does not go to the Mayor.
By WS (9), Westhampton Beach on Jun 18, 12 9:20 AM
It is my understanding that the Mayor of Westhampton Beach has never set foot in the library. As a matter of fact, I do not believe that he even attended the ribbon cutting opening ceremony...
By p (5), southampton on Jun 19, 12 6:41 PM
The library is a positive addition to the villge , was the new village, hall or the traffic circle a necessity ,no but it is a nice addition to the village, the library is much more than the library of old, it is a community center with new and fresh ideas, .As a village we should be appreciative of the things that we have here and stop complaining we have to pay taxes as long as they go back into
productive and creative ideas I do not have a problem with that.there is enough money that is ...more
By Shock (48), on Jun 21, 12 2:01 PM
Lets hope the new administration works to build the sewage system needed on Main Street WHB so that Main Street can live up to its potential and get foot traffic year round.
By Leon789 (50), westhampton on Jun 24, 12 8:05 PM
The library is ridiculous. There is barely ever anyone in it.
By Leon789 (50), westhampton on Jun 24, 12 8:06 PM
The new Village Hall, the traffic circle and the new sidewalks were built by the Strebel administration. Mayor Teller served as a Trustee for one year as part of that administration. In fact, most of his cronies and supporters were very outspoken critics of all the projects. For the past six years under the Teller administration there were no capital projects to upgrade and improve our roads, sidewalks and public buildings; Lashley Beach, Village Marina and Rogers Beach Just minimal maintence band ...more
By beachgirl11978 (18), Westhampton Beach on Jun 25, 12 12:20 PM