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Jan 6, 2010 12:36 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Throne-Holst is sworn in as 78th Southampton Town supervisor

Jan 6, 2010 12:36 PM

Anna Throne-Holst, the 78th supervisor in the history of Southampton Town, took the oath of office at a packed New Year’s Day ceremony at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, an event that featured speeches and songs while marking the start of her two-year term.

With her victory last November, Ms. Throne-Holst, who was the Democratic nominee, broke a 14-year hold by Republicans on the town supervisor seat.

“I cannot do this job well without the help of all of you,” Ms. Throne-Holst told the estimated 300 people, including family members, friends and town employees, who filled the lower level of the Main Street theater, after being given her oath of office by U.S. Representative Tim Bishop of Southampton.

“So, in that spirit, I will not stand here today and make lots of promises, but rather I ask that you join me, each and every one of you, in partnership as we forge new and better ways to serve this town we call home and community,” she added.

Eleven other town officials who were elected alongside Ms. Throne-Holst in November, including town justices, councilmen and Trustees, were also sworn in at the ceremony, which began at noon and lasted almost two hours.

Former Town Councilman Dennis Suskind, who served as the master of ceremonies, took time to thank outgoing Town Supervisor Linda Kabot, who could not attend the ceremony because of a family obligation, according to Mr. Suskind. “We’d like to thank her for her eight years of service as an elected official, and we wish her well in all her new endeavors,” Mr. Suskind said. “I think Linda deserves a round of applause.”

On Election Day, Ms. Throne-Holst, whose voter registration is “no affiliation” but who won the endorsement of the Democratic Party, received almost 58 percent of the ballots to defeat Ms. Kabot, the one-term Republican incumbent.

Ms. Throne-Holst is the third woman to hold the highest elected position in the municipality since the town swore in its first supervisor in 1711, Mr. Suskind said. The first was Mardythe DiPirro, a Democrat, who took office in 1988. Ms. Kabot was the second; she won election in November 2007.

Ms. DiPirro, whose term ended in 1989, was the last Democrat to hold the town’s top post. Republicans have held the seat in the intervening years, with one exception: Fred Thiele Jr. was elected town supervisor in November 1991; he was a Republican, but he ran for the town post on the Southampton Party line and defeated the Republican incumbent, George Stavropoulos. Mr. Thiele served in that post until 1995. Now the state assemblyman, Mr. Thiele remained a registered Republican until he switched to the Independence Party last year.

Two members of the Town Board also took their oaths of office at last Friday’s ceremony: Christopher Nuzzi, who won reelection in November, and first-time Councilman Jim Malone. Mr. Nuzzi, a Republican, was sworn in by Mr. Thiele, and Mr. Malone, a Conservative who had the Republican endorsement, was given the oath of office by his brother, Michael Malone.

They were preceded in the ceremony by the oaths of Town Clerk Sundy Schermeyer, Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor, Town Justices Deborah Kooperstein and Barbara Wilson, and Town Trustees Bill Pell, Jon Semlear, Edward Warner and Fred Havemeyer. Trustee Eric Shultz, who was also elected in November, could not attend the ceremony.

Justice Kooperstein, who has served for 16 years as a town justice, was sworn in by Riverhead Town Justice Allen Smith. Judge Wilson was sworn in by New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle.

In a brief speech, Justice Kooperstein spoke of her involvement with the East End Regional Intervention Court, a court in which drug offenders who are not facing felony charges appear to update the court on their progress in treatment programs and take drug tests to ensure that they are clean. Justice Kooperstein, who started the court in 2004, read a thank-you letter from a mother whose son went through the court.

“I am so happy to be beginning another term as a town justice in this town, administering justice under a system that is and remains the finest system of justice I believe exists on this Earth,” she said. “And it’s a system that allows for innovations and incorporates those innovations.”

Before calling Mr. Gregor, an Independence Party candidate who was endorsed by Democrats, to the front of the stage to take his oath, Mr. Suskind thanked outgoing Highway Superintendent Bill Masterson, who announced his retirement last April after serving for 20 years. Mr. Masterson, a Republican, stood and received an extended round of applause.

Ms. Throne-Holst, 49, was last to take her oath. Mr. Bishop delivered the oath of office while Arma “Ham” Andon, the former mayor of Westhampton Beach Village and the grandfather of Ms. Schermeyer, held the Bible.

In her speech, Ms. Throne-Holst said she spent the last several weeks making the rounds of the town departments and meeting workers, adding that she will continue to do so in the weeks to come. She opted not to discuss her agenda during the swearing-in ceremony.

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Oh Happy Day!
By bluelightning (21), Hampton Bays on Jan 1, 10 6:14 PM
It was a nice ceremony.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Jan 1, 10 7:35 PM

And Anna,
your father would have been beaming in pride seeing you surpass his formidable achievements and reach beyond his sphere of influence to hold significant political power to represent those least heard, those least served and esp those in our town uninvited and dispised.

You will lead our community well with all the goodwill that surrounds and follows you. Those of the surrounding towns will have much to do seeing your example of committment to all residents, with many, ...more
By mo (89), Sag Harbor on Jan 2, 10 2:27 AM
And with the oath, I do pledge...Gone are the days of bickering and bitterness, ahead lies the road to respect and kindness...for all the Town's residents. Good luck, Anna. You can take us there!
By Dodger (161), Southampton Village on Jan 2, 10 9:35 AM
Anna and all members of the Town Council -- Republican and Democratic and Independent alike -- deserve the public's benefit of the doubt. Let us give them an opportunity in this "honeymoon" period to assemble a good bipartisan agenda, assimilate their egos and personalities in the best interests of the Town to work cooperatively and actually bring to fuitition a constructive, positive approach to governing. It has been many many years since such cooperation and unity was prevelant on the Town Board ...more
By JimmyKBond (156), Hampton Bays on Jan 2, 10 10:45 AM
You got it ALMOST right, Jimmy. How about a NONpartisan agenda? Why not work in the best interests of the PEOPLE and ignore the dyed in the wool politicians, their parties, and their quids pro quo?
By VOS (1241), WHB on Jan 2, 10 6:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
There is no such thing as a nonpartisan agenda. The two parties have vastly different platforms and agendas. If I vote for a democrat, I expect that that candidate will be true to the ideals of the party. This does not mean that bipartisanship is not possible, but a candidate is elected, more often than not, because of party affiliation. That is why we have distinct parties with distinct agendas.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Jan 2, 10 7:08 PM
Congratulations Anna !
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Jan 4, 10 2:20 PM
It is now time for you to change your name here to "Partyfirst".

Your attitude is what's wrong with local politics, you think that somehow there is a "party philosophy" that matters. What matters is that our elected officials represent "We the people", not any party of any stripe. I would surmise that you are one of those involved in party politics and you guys will never get the message.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Jan 5, 10 7:09 PM