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Oct 28, 2009 12:18 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town may see an end to 'anoint and appoint' policy

Oct 28, 2009 12:18 PM

Southampton Town residents heading to the polls on November 3 will not only be asked to fill several town government positions, they also will cast votes on three ballot proposals, including a new town special elections law.

Proposal III on the ballot, if approved, would mandate that Southampton Town elected positions that are vacated mid-term would be filled via a special election held 60 to 90 days after a vacancy is declared. If a vacancy occurs within 90 days of a regularly scheduled general election, the post would remain vacant until the general election.

Suffolk County will cover the cost of those special elections if the voters approve the ballot proposition on Tuesday.

Presently, a special election is not required in Southampton Town, and if an elected official vacates a seat in the middle of a term, the Town Board can appoint a replacement. That’s what happened in February 2008 when Dan Russo was tagged to serve on the Town Board after Councilwoman Linda Kabot was elected supervisor halfway through her term on the board.

The majority of the Town Board supported the change and voted this summer to put it on the ballot. Supporters, including Ms. Kabot, argue that appointments give the appointees an unfair advantage in the next election.

Ms. Kabot, a Republican who is running for reelection, said the initiative would increase the accountability of elected officials and reduce instances of political patronage positions.

“It’s a reform of the election procedures in the Town of Southampton,” she said. “Basically, it is to end stacking the deck and let the people decide the people on elected boards rather than the party leaders.”

Ms. Kabot acknowledged that if the ballot initiative is rejected by voters—and she is defeated by her opponent, Councilwoman Anna Throne-Holst—Ms. Throne-Holst would have a hand in choosing a temporary successor. “If the voters vote no, then Anna would ultimately have a hand in choosing who would replace her on the council,” Ms. Kabot said.

The other two propositions involve statewide matters. Proposal I would allow National Grid to construct a high-voltage power line on 6 acres of state-preserved lands along State Route 56 in St. Lawrence County. In exchange, National Grid would dedicate 10 acres of equal-value land for preservation. Proposal II would authorize the State Legislature to amend the State Constitution to allow prisoners to volunteer to work for non-profit companies.

Bryan Finlayson

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It is the only fair way to remove the political bias that surrounds an appointee. A major question is if the loser(s) in the town board race are willing to put themselves through the electoral wringer again. And think of the reality and cosmic consequences of trying to select or elect someone to the job they have just been rejected from by the voters. Talk about Halloween nightmares!!
By foodie (74), Remsenburg on Oct 28, 09 3:22 PM
Chris Nuzzi is apparently keeping quiet about this, just as he ducks so many issues. Regrettably, Chris Nuzzi's Sign Dogs are back again, pulling out opposition signs and throwing them in the woods. Even if he didn't start it, Chris Nuzzi can make it stop, and he needs to do that, or we'll all think he's OK with this infantile cheating.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 29, 09 3:17 PM
This is what, the fourth or fifth time you've copied and pasted the identical unsubstantiated garbage about "Chris Nuzzi's Sign Dogs?"

Are you really that much of a one-trick pony?
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Oct 30, 09 1:09 PM
2 members liked this comment
Please tell us what Sally Pope's stand on this is, she hasn't publiclly stated one or is just waiting to see what everyone else does?

Regrettably, Sally Pope's Sign Dogs are back again, pulling out opposition signs and throwing them in the woods. Even if she didn't start it, Sally Pope can make it stop, and she needs to do that, or we'll all think she's OK with this infantile cheating.
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Oct 30, 09 4:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
I would appreciate it if the Press, in the future, would write something about Ballot Proposals well before an election, especially when there are statewide Proposals affecting areas far from here. I haven't a clue about either of the first two issues.

How does the area affected by National Grid's proposal feel about it? Is there any controversy? And, is allowing prisoners to volunteer a good idea? It sounds good, but what kind of prisoners would be involved and for what sort of work ...more
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Oct 30, 09 1:20 PM
For those interested in the first two Ballot Proposals, I found the following, which while it doesn't go into detail about what sort of prisoners would be involved, does explain why the proposal is on the ballot. It also explains the reason for the National Grid land swap proposal, as does the second piece. Neither proposal seems to have any naysayers that I could find on the net.

By goldenrod (505), southampton on Oct 30, 09 1:34 PM
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Oct 30, 09 2:15 PM
Proposal III is toothless and a fell good measure. Massachusetts di the same thing when Kerry was running for President. Lawmakers did not want the republican governor to put a republican in John Kerry's vacant senatorial seat if Kerry had won the presidency. So they passed a smiliar law to propositionm III. Now that Senator Kennedy has died, the same democartic legislature has overturned thier own law and installed a replacement democartic senator in Kenndy;'s vacant senate seat without waithing ...more
By Walt (292), Southampton on Oct 31, 09 12:20 PM
they should pull out all of these signs and throw them in the woods looks like littering to me
By asurest (117), easthampton on Oct 31, 09 8:40 PM