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Oct 29, 2009 4:15 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Highway Superintendent candidate John McGann (C,R)

Editor's Note: Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Bill Masterson is stepping down after 20 years of service, paving the way for a new face to control the town’s 450 miles of roads. Two Hampton Bays residents—Alex Gregor, who is running on the Democratic and Independence lines, and John McGann, the Republican and Conservative party choice—are vying for the Southampton Town highway superintendent spot. In 2009, the post paid a $102,000 salary. Both candidates answered seven questions via e-mail from The Southampton Press.

Click here to download a pdf of the Southampton Town Ballot
Oct 29, 2009 4:15 PM

Age: 54

Hometown: Hampton Bays

Occupation: Retired deputy sheriff lieutenant; part-time court officer for the Town of East Hampton; private security

Education: Paralegal Studies program, Long Island University; Suffolk County Police Academy; Suffolk County Police Supervisors training

Political affiliation: Conservative, with the Republican endorsement

Political experience: None

Question: Do you think the town would benefit in any way from switching from an elected highway superintendent to an appointed one? Why or how?

Answer: I believe that the superintendent of highways should serve the residents and should be held accountable for his or her success or failure. If we have an appointed superintendent of highways, that person would be answering to the [Southampton Town] supervisor and board members. I believe this would negate any benefit to an appointed position and take away from the people’s right to choose.

Question: Do you think the town should do away with leaf pickup? Why?

Answer: There is an obligation in town government to provide services to the residents. The leaf program is a service that is important to our town and should remain in place. We can improve the program by picking up only leaves in the fall and leave the brush and winter kill (branches etc.) for a spring pick-up. I would also look into outsourcing some of the leaf pick-up, modeling it after the town’s snow removal program. This would expedite the leaf pickup program and help the department complete its other obligations and prepare for snow removal.

Question: Do you think the town should privatize its waste management operations?

Answer: I do not believe that privatization is the answer. We have a solid waste program in place at a substantial cost to the taxpayers and we have a responsibility to make that program work. We still need to evaluate the solid waste management program, figuring in the costs, revenues created and the charge backs to other departments within the town. At that time we can make the necessary changes to ensure it is self-supporting. A good place to start would be to improve our recycling and increase public awareness through newsletters.

Question: Do you think the town’s drainage system is adequate? Why?

Answer: With our low water table and lack of proper drainage, we are vulnerable to flooding. We need to ensure that the present stormwater management and abatement projects are completed. We need to identify other problem areas with input from the civic associations, CACs and residents. In addition, we need to work in conjunction with the Town Trustees to identify areas of runoff. Improvement is needed and should come from a coordinated effort working with [New York] State, [Suffolk] County and village agencies.

Question: Do you have a plan to speed up the process in which people can report potholes or other dangerous road conditions?

Answer: I would put in place an interactive website. Residents will be able to report problems and concerns through the internet and of course by phone. They would then be able to follow up on them through a central complaint database. This database will help the department identify, track and monitor our problem areas for potholes and other serious road problems, flooding, leaf pickup and snow removal.

Question: What will you decide to cut back on in the highway department to help close the budget shortfall in the town?

Answer: The highway department already has a workload that makes it impossible to properly complete the tasks that they are responsible for. By breaking down the leaf and brush program to take leaves in the fall and brush in the spring and outsourcing some of that work, we can free up our workforce to get to the necessary tasks on time. Continued closing of the transfer stations on certain days of the week may be necessary in tough economic times. The present training program that is in place with the cooperation of the CSEA needs to be continued and enhanced to better train the staff on all phases of equipment operation. Putting these ideas together with proper management of the department will enable the department to do more with less and opens up the door to cutting back on staff, if necessary, in the only acceptable way, through attrition.

Question: If Southampton Town decides to trim down the snow removal budget, what will you do to make sure the roads stay clear?

Answer: Cutting back on the snow removal budget is not an acceptable option. The health and safety of our residents comes first. I believe we should be using all the town’s assets when the conditions justify it. Expanding the use of Parks and Recreation Department and Water Authority staff to clear our roads is a viable option that should be discussed with the CSEA and department heads. During large snow events we should be using all resources available to make our roads safe.

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I am thoroughly impressed with the breadth of Mr. McGann's knowledge and his genuine concern for the welfare of the public. Here is a person who can walk right into the job and get it done from day one. John McGann has my wholehearted support and I thank him for wanting to take on the job!
Richard Blumenthal
By RichardBlumenthal (24), Westhampton Beach on Oct 29, 09 7:14 PM
2 members liked this comment
Gregor is the better choice, he has relevant experience.
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Oct 29, 09 9:40 PM
his relevant experience is digging holes....he should be a laborer than! oh but wait he couldn't take it and stopped showing up in 2001 when worked for the highway department.

we need someone who can work with union employees and get productivity levels up!
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Oct 30, 09 12:04 PM
1 member liked this comment
He is a complete professional and a gentleman. He has my vote.
By SamIAm (36), hampton bays on Oct 30, 09 5:02 PM
Did you say "gentleman", sir? Hardly. John McGann's recent performance at the FRNCA debate and the vicious mailer he sent out about his opponent, Alex Gregor, are either of them enough to demonstrate that John McGann is a lot of things, but a gentleman is not one of them. In both instances, he accused Gregor of absenteeism and business failure, in the most abusive terms.

The absenteeism charge is false, as the matter was caused by a documented case of asthma. The business failure ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Nov 1, 09 9:40 PM
1 member liked this comment
John Mcgann is the better man for this job!!!! John you have my vote.
By flash2112 (2), Hampton Bays on Oct 31, 09 12:03 PM
The research is complete, John McGann served the people of Suffolk County for at least twenty years with the Suffolk County Sheriffs Office. While there, He rose to the rank of Lt. and was in charge of at least 80 persons. Upon his decision to retire, his bosses tried to talk him out of leaving and his workers begged him to stay. When your Bosses and your workers both ask you not to leave, you must be doing something right. WHAT HAS GREGOR DONE BESIDES RUNNING FOR ALL OFFICES IN THE TOWN AND ...more
By Middleman (16), east quogue on Nov 2, 09 8:12 AM
John's got my Vote, -- (just the fact that he was not fired from the town Highway DEP. works for me!) I have to question how the boys in the Dep will work for Alex knowing he got fired for not doing the things he will be asking of them..... Just a thought!
By farmlocal (83), Southampton on Nov 2, 09 9:29 AM
1 member liked this comment
He didn't "catch" asthma from the job. He simply stopped going to work. Never called in, never claimed an illness. He just stopped going to work. Did you ever do that to an employer? I doubt it.
Vicous mailer? It merely reported the truth.
Can you comment on his nominating a non resident of the town for the Town Justice position? Can you explain why he didn't give it to Barbara Wilson?
Your guy is about politics and getting a town paycheck.
By Terry (380), Southampton on Nov 2, 09 10:33 AM
1 member liked this comment
I never said Alex Gregor got asthma because of the job; I said it prevented him from doing the job. Can you document or otherwise verify the accusation that he never called in and "just stopped going to work"?

I truly don't know anything about the Town Justice thing, but if it's an Independence Party endorsement you're talking about, I'll bet it was engineered by Boss Frank McKay, who overruled Alex and the local party people in the double-cross that resulted in the Dem Council candidates ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Nov 2, 09 12:51 PM
turkey can you please comment on the numerous BLAME mailings i got from the democrats.
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Nov 2, 09 4:23 PM
Turkey Bridge, like in many of your postings on this site, you are off base. Mr. Gregor got his job in the highway department directly as a result of his belonging to the Republican Party. Which was the same way he got on the Conservation Board. In a different time and place you we be first in line calling him a Republican Party hack.
Mr Gregor had a personal association dating back many years with then Highway Superintendent Bill Masterson. Mr. Gregor had every opportunity, both legitimately ...more
By DJII13 (155), Hampton Bays on Nov 2, 09 1:42 PM
Thats where the jobs are? Have you looked at the payscale of Highway Department employees?
Ask Alex yourself why Judge Wilson didnt get the endorsement.
Come Wednesday morning, John can look himself in the mirror. He said nothing but the truth at the debates.
Your PERSON Pope uncovered nothing that was known to the public befor she was even candidate the 1st time around.
By Terry (380), Southampton on Nov 2, 09 1:44 PM
Amend that to read nothing that was UNknown .....
By Terry (380), Southampton on Nov 2, 09 1:56 PM
It's all second- and third-hand hearsay about how Alexregor and the Highway Dept. parted ways, as far as I can tell. I admit I could be wrong about high-paying Highway Dept. jobs, but not about Highway Dept. contracts.

Terry, when you say it was "nothing that was unknown to the public", are you really saying it was common knowledge that Bill Masterson let the roads go unpaved if it didn't generate enough profit for his contractor friends? Am I reading this right?

Just for the ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Nov 2, 09 2:11 PM
1 member liked this comment
That's pure spin Turkey Bridge.

It's actaully a matter of public record, available on the archives of this newspaper and posted at "On The Beach Blog".

And it's first hand when the person says it themself.
By DJII13 (155), Hampton Bays on Nov 2, 09 2:36 PM
Not pure spin, DJ, pure fact. You see, the difference is that I can quote chapter and verse for my material, and you apparently can't (I don't count "On the Beach Blog" as chapter and verse). Let me demonstrate, thus giving still more exposure to the Republicans' many sins:

[1] Masterson's sweetheart deal for paving contractors -- "The Wrong Reason", Southampton Press, 2/26/09.

[2] McGann's unethical fundraiser solicitation -- "Candidate says invitations at work were a mistake", ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Nov 2, 09 3:59 PM
What is pure spin is your assertion that the problem with Mr. Gregor's employment and subsequent termination is "all second- and third-hand hearsay about how Alexregor and the Highway Dept. parted ways"

It is a matter of public record. The article from the time is on this news sites archive and while you may dismiss the Beach Blog, what is not in dispute is that the public record was obtainable from the town.

It is a disqualifying liabilty for Mr. Gregor and you are trying to spin ...more
By DJII13 (155), Hampton Bays on Nov 2, 09 4:08 PM
From the 9/27/02 Southampton Press:

Alex Gregor of Hampton Bays was fired by the Southampton Town Board Tuesday, two years after he stopped showing up for work at the town’s Highway Department garage because of health problems.
Mr. Gregor, whose effort to wage a Republican primary for Southampton Town Board member was stymied by a court challenge last month, called the move retaliatory and threatened to sue.

Town officials said a compromise could not be worked out after Mr. ...more
By Terry (380), Southampton on Nov 2, 09 4:18 PM
Good work, Terry, happy to have real documentation, for whatever it's worth, but aren't you tripping yourself up? You said above about Alex Gregor, at 10:33 AM, "He simply stopped going to work. Never called in, never claimed an illness, He just stopped going to work." It sure doesn't sound like that's what happened, if the Town offered him two alternative positions. You don't do that for someone who just stops showing up. Regardless of whether those positions would or wouldn't have aggravated ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Nov 2, 09 5:00 PM
spin it anyway you want Turkey, he was "fired two years after he stopped showing up for work"
By Terry (380), Southampton on Nov 2, 09 5:17 PM
Remember Turkey Bridge Mr. Gregor was a well connected Republican. In addition to his own involvement his late sistere was then Treasurer of the Party, soon to be chairperson. Despite his malfeasance there were still those looing to take care of him and wokr things out for him.

The factof the matter is he did not notify of his condition for many months and ontly then through hsi attorney, the referenced Carolyn Zenk, who had to abstain from a unanious vote to fire Mr. Gregor becasue she ...more
By DJII13 (155), Hampton Bays on Nov 2, 09 5:22 PM
Terry, you can't just stop reading the Southampton Press piece at the first paragraph, and I think you know that. Your reading here isn't spin, it's more like amputation.

DJ, I have spoken with the man, a long time ago, and what I'm saying is consistent with that. By the way, I don't hold a Republican background against anyone. Some of my best friends, etc.

By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Nov 2, 09 5:41 PM
The town's GOP must be shaking in their boots in fear of Gregor winning tomorrow. The Highway Supt's job has been a cash cow and political plum for them for years. They repay favors with jobs and get lots of vendors' contributions to help with campaigns. Think of the "Masterson Tournament."
So, besides the integrity issue vis a vis the GOP, there's the issue of theircandidate McGann's lack of qualifications. He has ZERO highway and public works experience or even loosely related experience. ...more
By baywoman (165), southampton on Nov 2, 09 7:45 PM
What "political appointees" would that be?
By Terry (380), Southampton on Nov 2, 09 9:44 PM
Then Mr. Gregor has changed his story Turkey Bridge. Like I said earlier what you are poopooing as second and third hand is actaully first hand. From the horses mouth, as they say.
By DJII13 (155), Hampton Bays on Nov 2, 09 8:42 PM
From his mouth, you say, as opposed to some other part?
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Nov 3, 09 7:16 AM
Either man would be an improvement over what we have had for so many long years.

That said, Gregor was deliberately lobbed that soft ball paving question. He had clearly prepared for it ahead of time and he answered it in detail, but a bit like a school kid reciting his homework.

What was also obvious was that the question cards submitted by the public were ignored and the planted ones on cards asked. It was very one sided and dragged on forever. At a meet the candidates not ...more
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Nov 2, 09 9:47 PM
You say that because McGann had NO IDEA how much money goes into paving a road!
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Nov 2, 09 9:58 PM
I like that line TurkeyBridge. While alot of what comes out of Mr. Gregors multiple campaigns for various town offices is entertaining horse crap, I can say it came directly out of Mr. Gregor's mouth.
By DJII13 (155), Hampton Bays on Nov 3, 09 9:28 AM
Thanks, DJ. Don't forget to vote.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Nov 3, 09 9:33 AM