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Mar 4, 2017 6:00 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley Will Not Seek Reelection After 12 Years In Office

Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley will not seek reelection in June.  DANA SHAW
Mar 8, 2017 11:24 AM

Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley announced this week that he will not seek reelection to a sixth two-year term in June, leaving the door open to the village’s top post for the first time in a dozen years.

“The growing demands of my business and growing family have dominated my time, and at this time in my life I feel I haven’t been able to dedicate the energy necessary to meet my own personal standards for how the job should be done,” he wrote in an email circulated Saturday evening. “I am very proud of all we have accomplished during my time, and it has truly been an honor to serve.”

Mr. Epley said he’s not stepping down with the intention of running for another office—several seats on the Southampton Town Board are on the November ballot—but he also said he won’t step away from politics completely and might contemplate a future run.

“Never say never,” he said on Tuesday. “I enjoy it. I enjoy serving. It’s what I’ve done my whole life.”

Mr. Epley, 53, has lived in the village full time since 1992, when he was discharged from the U.S. Navy Submarine Force after nine years of service. He was first elected as mayor in 2005, and also is the chief executive officer of the Seafield Center in Westhampton Beach, a drug and alcohol abuse rehab clinic.

In the wake of the announcement, Village Trustee Richard Yastrzemski, who serves as deputy mayor, has said he would be interested in running for mayor—although that would mean setting aside other political plans.

In February, Mr. Yastrzemski, who was born and raised in Southampton and has served on the Village Board for nearly nine years, expressed interest in another run for Southampton Town supervisor, following up on a 2015 run on the Republican ticket by challenging incumbent Jay Schneiderman this fall. He noted at the time that the town’s Republican Committee has not decided who will be their candidate for the town’s top post.

On Tuesday, Mr. Yastrzemski said he would put any supervisor bid on the “back burner” to allow a run for mayor, since the village is his top priority.

He also noted that Mr. Epley’s departure would create a ripple effect on the entire Village Board. “This is forcing new blood in,” Mr. Yastrzemski said. “I’m not brand new, but this is forcing new blood in. If I were to be elected, it would force a new board member position to open.”

Mr. Yastrzemski said he was not shocked by Mr. Epley’s decision, and he touted the work done by village government under Mr. Epley’s direction. He noted that the mayor was instrumental in converting the old Parrish Art Museum building on Jobs Lane into the Southampton Arts Center. When the building was acquired, it left the village with an opportunity but also a challenge, Mr. Yastrzemski said, adding that Mr. Epley handled it well.

While he said he and Mr. Epley did not see eye to eye on everything, they did on many things, and he said it was an honor to work with and learn from him. “Clearly, he’s accomplished a lot,” Mr. Yastrzemski said.

Mr. Epley said he’s proud to have built a team of people from all different walks of life, with the result being that everyone has treated each other with respect.

He also said he is proud that he was part of helping the village’s Septemberfest grow into a weekend-long event, opening up the ability for restaurants to have sidewalk dining, working with residents to get a dog park in place, and being at the forefront of the region’s movement toward plastic bag bans.

Over the 12 years, Mr. Epley said, he was fortunate to be part of the hiring and promoting of village employees, and watching young people establish careers and families.

“I am very proud of all we have accomplished during my time, and it has truly been an honor to serve,” he said. “I am thankful for the people that I have worked with and the opportunity that I was given. Southampton is an incredible community, not because of the beauty of the landscape but because of the people.”

Mr. Epley said he plans to support whoever is elected to replace him in June. When he was first elected, Mr. Epley, said, his predecessor, Joseph Romanosky Jr., was supportive but never interfered—and that’s how he plans to help as well.

Other candidates for the post are likely to line up in the coming weeks.

Francis “Fran” Adamczeski, who has been vocal on village issues surrounding beach access, has also been connected to bumper stickers seen around the village that read: “Fran For Mayor.” On Tuesday, Mr. Adamczeski said he wanted to clear the air—he does not plan to make a run for mayor this time, although has not ruled out seeking a position on the Village Board.

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Oh Christ -dig up the Yaz corpse
By fire11 (276), east hampton on Mar 4, 17 10:34 PM
while not all of Mark's programs or ideas worked, he at least tried to make the village a better place. He supports our volunteers. His children have been raised to give back to the community. Zach is a Firefighter. Chris is an ambulance chief.

The Epley family cares about this community.

Now run along, Icecreamman, and sell your cones to the tourists that Mark has done his best to make sure they day trip to Southampton.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Mar 5, 17 7:47 AM
Don't forget Nick, one of the kindest and most giving teachers at our Elementary school. His positive energy rubs off on kids he doesn't even have in his class as my daughter loves retelling the jokes she hears from his students at morning meeting.
By Killerfrog (38), Southampton on Mar 6, 17 11:43 AM
A great man! He has served the village with integrity and class. Best of
luck in all future endeavors.
By Jimion (129), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 17 8:34 AM
1 member liked this comment
Good luck with Yaz, he's an empty suit who's power will go to his head and it'll just mean more "emergency" lights on his personal car
By rogue5 (1), east quogue on Mar 5, 17 8:40 AM
1 member liked this comment
You mean Yaz the Fire Commisioner?

By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Mar 5, 17 11:41 AM
12 years too long. GOOD BYE!
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Mar 5, 17 8:55 AM
3 members liked this comment
Isn't he the self appointed deputy police commissioner ( like that even exists in the village)
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Mar 5, 17 5:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
Will this mean that Shane loses his golden ticket to run illegal surf lessons at the Picnic area? Time will tell.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Mar 5, 17 8:14 PM
2 members liked this comment
Oh only one could hope, pray an celebrate Shane would be losing rights to the Picnic Area. Only fair seeing as how someone should not be rewarded for breaking the rules and the laws. Hint Hint Mark! Long Live the Picnic Area!

Out with the old , in with the NEW ;)
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Mar 7, 17 7:59 AM
1 member liked this comment
I have had nothing but great encounters with Yaz. He is very approachable in town and if he decides to run I wish him the best of luck. He truly cares about the village.
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Mar 7, 17 8:07 PM
Yaz is big on temper, short on skills. Guy does not possess leadership qualities by any metric. You vote him in, you get more of the same old small town nonsense.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Mar 8, 17 7:26 AM
2 members liked this comment
Southampton Village seems to have there act together. You've had Epley doing a good job. I read something about the Epley kid fixing up the abandoned building by Shippy's and fixing the Village up. If Yazsruemski has been Epley deputy for all the good going on I say give him the shot at the title.
By Gillnetter (105), Hampton Bays on Mar 8, 17 7:57 AM
Mark - you did a good job as Mayor and a great job iinstilling in your children a sense of community service! You have had a positive effect on Southampton Village. You will be missed! Thank you for your tears of service!
By metsfan2 (163), southampton on Mar 8, 17 1:44 PM
Correction: years of service.
By metsfan2 (163), southampton on Mar 8, 17 3:20 PM
worst mayor ever - corrupt
By BrianWilliams (87), on Mar 8, 17 2:18 PM
Mayor Mark Epley has done an awesome job in our community and I applaud him for all his time that he has put into our village. Besides the hard stuff, I have enjoyed watching the entire family be apart of multiple events. Driving the carts for 4th of July parade gathering donations, diving into the freezing ocean during the Polar Bear Plunge fund raiser, dressing up during Halloween passing out the candy in front of Village Hall, etc. I can go on. This truly was a family that supported our village ...more
By tj (2), southampton on Mar 10, 17 4:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
Time for NEW BLOOD...
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Mar 15, 17 2:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
Mayor Epley was a wonderful and compassionate man and did a fine job for Southampton. Wishing him all the best
By johnny'sgirl (3), southampton on Mar 15, 17 9:22 PM