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Jan 27, 2010 11:52 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Board comes to compromise on committee

Jan 27, 2010 11:52 AM

Days after publicly clashing over the issue, Town Councilwoman Nancy Graboski and Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst revealed at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting that they had reached a compromise on the status of the Budget and Finance Committee.

Last week, Ms. Graboski and Ms. Throne-Holst took opposing stances on what to do with the committee, which was created by former Town Supervisor Linda Kabot last spring to assist town officials in saving costs and budgeting, among other tasks. At the Town Board’s work session on Thursday, January 21, Ms. Graboski said she planned to put forth a resolution at the next meeting to reappoint the committee and keep it going. Ms. Throne-Holst planned to put forth a competing resolution to abolish it.

On Tuesday, both board members withdrew their respective resolutions and said that they would rethink the mission of the committee over the next few weeks and appoint some new members to it in late February.

“We’ll work together to refine, revise and articulate more clearly the role and mission,” Ms. Graboski said at the meeting. The committee is now considered to be in holdover status, she said.

Also at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting, Ms. Throne-Holst withdrew a planned resolution to try again to reappoint Town Comptroller Tamara Wright for a two-year term. Instead, the board will discuss the matter at a special Town Board meeting this Friday, January 29, at 9 a.m. Ms. Wright has been employed since the summer as the full-time comptroller for the town, but the board deadlocked on reappointing her earlier this month.

At last Thursday’s work session Ms. Graboski said that now would be the wrong time to abolish the Budget and Finance Committee—a statement in direct opposition to Ms. Throne-Holst’s plans. “It sends the wrong message,” Ms. Graboski said of disbanding the group.

The conversation escalated when Ms. Throne-Holst asked Ms. Graboski to reach out to her more, and when Ms. Graboski said that financial operations in the town seemed to be “languishing.” Ms. Graboski then accused Ms. Throne-Holst of trying to control resolutions that are placed on the agenda for Town Board meetings.

“Do not try to argue with me and do not try to control me,” Ms. Graboski snapped. “Someone is controlling the gate for resolutions I want to get on the docket.”

Ms. Throne-Holst remained quiet and looked down at the table during most of the tiff. She urged Ms. Graboski to speak to her after the work session. “I’m not sure of the source of your ire,” she said.

Ms. Graboski shot back, “There’s a control issue here.”

Resolutions placed on the Town Board meeting agenda need to receive clearance from both the town attorney’s and town comptroller’s offices. Ms. Graboski said that her resolution to reappoint the Budget and Finance Committee, as well as the Audit Advisory Committee, was stopped in the comptroller’s office, and that Ms. Wright told her that she was directed by Ms. Throne-Holst to not approve the resolution—a message Ms. Graboski said she found “shocking and dismaying.”

Ms. Throne-Holst said Monday that she had only asked Ms. Wright to tell Ms. Graboski to hold off on moving forward with the resolutions until the supervisor and board members could discuss them. Ms. Wright confirmed what Ms. Throne-Holst said, adding that she made the phone call for her only because the supervisor was leaving for a meeting. Ms. Wright said that she approved the resolutions before the deadline for them to be placed on the agenda.

“This is just a misunderstanding between the two of them, in terms of why Nancy felt it was important to get it on and be ready to vote on it, and why Anna wanted it off,” Ms. Wright said.

On Tuesday, the Town Board also appointed members to the Audit Advisory Committee, which will look at financial recommendations and corrective actions previous auditors have made for the town. The members of the committee will investigate how well the town has adhered to those recommendations, Ms. Graboski explained.

Ms. Graboski and Councilman Jim Malone will serve on the committee, as will residents Eugene Gaughan and Edward Moneypenny. At the work session, Ms. Throne-Holst balked at appointing Mr. Moneypenny to the committee, as he had not yet been interviewed in public. But he was interviewed Friday and appointed Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, Ms. Throne-Holst and Ms. Graboski continued to work out how they would diplomatically handle the Budget and Finance Committee. The officials settled on slowly working on the mission and purpose of the committee over the next few weeks. Ms. Throne-Holst said Monday that she would like to see the committee look at specific issues, such as vehicles given to town employees and early retirement plans and insurance plans.

Ms. Graboski and the supervisor are expecting to have a solid plan for the committee and appoint new members to it at a Town Board meeting in late February. She said some of the current members of the board may not be reappointed.

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Now they need to agree to undo the Berkoski appointment to the planning board and start over with new applications and a transparent and open appointment interview process.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Jan 28, 10 2:10 PM
2 members liked this comment
Absolutely correct, dagdavid; that was an insult to the residents of SH. Although, we all realize "they" will never agree to reverse that appointmant.
By EQme (112), East Quogue on Jan 28, 10 7:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
as Jim Croce would say -
"You don't spit into the wind"
Not to interupt your echo chamber moment but perhaps was this not a case of our new supervisor deciding ill advisably that she would draw a line in the sand she could not enforce and should have known better?
And instead of working with her fellow board members to a reasonable compromise ( as apparently has worked out on this finance committee issue) decided instead for a public confrontation like in the comprtroller situation. ...more
By DJII13 (155), Hampton Bays on Jan 28, 10 8:59 PM
Anna, take the reins!

The appointment of any person without going through an interview process is reprehensible, as you KNOW.

Are you already thinking about getting re-elected, or doing the right thing?

Follow your heart.

Submit a motion to cancel the appointment, and open up interviews for human beings of all colors, genders, and so forth.

If not, please post here or issue a press release justifying the appointment in question.

Take the reins ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 28, 10 9:07 PM
1 member liked this comment
The supervisor should have known better than to try and stop a resolution from being put on the agenda. No wonder Ms. Graboski was upset. ATH would not like it one bit if it were done to her.
This is not about taking the reins, this should be about getting along with others and doing the right thing by law. I hope ATH learned her lesson.
BTW I'm not the least bit insulted over the Berkoski appointment.
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Jan 28, 10 9:25 PM
where have you been? It WAS done to her when they insisted on the Berkoski appointment. The supervisor just didn't grandstand for the press. She did what was within her rights and her power; she voted against it. Your fellow Republicans voted for the appoontment.....without the benefit of the open interview process...same old, same old Republican nonsense.
And, by the way,it's not the man himself being criticized here, it's the sad truth that the 3 current board memberds have no intention of ...more
By EQme (112), East Quogue on Jan 29, 10 10:13 AM
1 member liked this comment
Then you are a hypocrite.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Jan 29, 10 10:17 AM
Far from it, I only want the TownBoard to "start over with new applications and a transparent and open appointment interview process", as you stated. Berkoski didn't interview, so how can we know about him? That's all I meant.
By EQme (112), East Quogue on Jan 29, 10 12:30 PM
EQme, sorry for the misunderstanding. I was calling rep rep a hypocrite, not you. Unfortunately the way this boar works when you respond to a comment it puts them all in one line and since we both responded to reg rep, it appear as though I was responding to you. Not the case. I agree with you. I am call reg rep a hypocrite because she calls for openness and cooperation and then says it is OK to appoint Berkoski behind closed doors before the application deadline even occured.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Jan 29, 10 12:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
Would you both feel the same way if Berkoski was a democrat? I'm sure the answer would be yes, but we will never know for sure.
His appointment was voted on at a town board meeting with ATH voting no. That's not being appointed behind closed doors, and he did interview last year. That's good enough for me as a tax payer.
The resolution that ATH blocked by asking the comptroller not to approve it is a whole different story, that's what is called a closed process. No one should block a resolution ...more
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Jan 29, 10 8:00 PM
I personally could care less what political persuasion Berkoski is. Several residents of Southampton Town (some representing a larger entitiy) appeared in person and voiced their oposition to this appointment in a respectful and eloquent manner. All they requested was that it be tabled in order to effectively offer the people who sent recent resumes in a desire to serve the opportunity to interview. Berkoski was interviewed a year ago? Did Jim Malone even have a clue who he was voting for?? I doubt ...more
By EQme (112), East Quogue on Jan 30, 10 3:48 PM
Any board member who has a resolution should be able to submit it and expect it to be on the agenda for a vote.

It is certainly prudent for each resolution to be reviewed by various Town Hall personnel so that the respective expertise can be considered by the elected official who is proposing the resolution. It might compel the proponent of the resolution to modify it, withdraw it entirely, or pursue it as originally intended.

Staff review allows the decision making process to ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Jan 29, 10 8:12 AM
Mr. Berkoski did go thru the interview process. right? So what, the clock was supposed to be reset by the election? And was that reset that now the board was firmly majority Republican or that there was a new supervisor? Oh I get it, now that Ms. Thorne -Holst is actually Supervisor she would be in a position to ask better questions and truly reveal the qualifications of the candidate.You folks are kidding yourselves.
By DJII13 (155), Hampton Bays on Jan 29, 10 8:31 PM
No, actually, I think what the residents who spoke were asking for is transparency in the appointment process, which has been sorely lacking, Ms. Throne-Holst called for open interviews for all appointed boards, and as soon as she took office, all residents interested in serving were encouraged to apply. My understanding is that many new resumes were submitted for all of the boards. Who could object to a few weeks delay in order to ascertain the best possible person for each available seat? Mr. ...more
By EQme (112), East Quogue on Jan 30, 10 4:00 PM
He was appointed to the board one week before applications were due so how many qualified candidates were ignored? Is this how you want your local government to behave? I don't.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Jan 31, 10 11:53 AM
And how many of those "residents" who spoke in opposition were actually Democratc committee people acting their part in staged opposition. Didn't this staged oppoisition include the Democrat Chair Gordon Herr, who was annoyed when per policy he had to idnetify himself as such? Keep it real folks.
By DJII13 (155), Hampton Bays on Jan 31, 10 7:23 AM
Once again, this is not a party issue. These board positions, especially the planning board, carry a lot of weight. To appoint someone without an open, transparent, public interview process and without considering ALL qualified candidates reeks of cronyism. To appoint someone who was and might still be a co-plaintiff in a law suit is disgusting - regardless of party.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Jan 31, 10 11:56 AM
The others I saw (aside from the Mr. Herr you refer to) were people who are familiar with the work in Town Hall and genuinely want to see an open interview process. This is a critical time for the town and all of the east end ; why not open the interview process up to all and select the individual who can contribute in the most educated, intelligent and effective manner?
This is not rocket science....it's common sense. I stated in my earlier post that I have nothing against the man in the middle ...more
By EQme (112), East Quogue on Jan 31, 10 8:21 AM
1 member liked this comment
An open interview process does not change anything. The party in power still gets to select who they want. Whether its a 3-2, 3-1, or 4-1 vote does not matter. Outcome still the same and the right person got the job.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jan 31, 10 9:30 AM
How would you know the others aside from Mr. Herr were familiar with the work in Town Hall? Those dem's that spoke were invited by ATH to have it on record that people were opposed (when most could care less).
This was a set up by her, that what she does. It helped get her elected.
She invited people to speak on the closing of the shelter, when she know all along it was being privitized. At her request people spoke about the lay offs in the youth bureau, ATH even said she would hire 1.5 ...more
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Jan 31, 10 1:35 PM
So we have two events now in which the Democrat party and their official house organ thave sought to protray events at town hall as some sort of Republican cosnpiracy.
The frst in which the Supervisor clearly had to know that the Republican board members were not ready to move forward on her hand picked comprtoller candidate, but persisted anyway in moving the issue forward to create a controversy for purley partisan objectives.
And the second where a qualified board appointee who had ...more
By DJII13 (155), Hampton Bays on Jan 31, 10 8:11 PM
You are correct DJII13, under her calm demeanor we have a supervisor who is a manipulator and a phony. If you disagree with her she invites her democrat friends to speak at board meeting for the public to see at home. Its all staged.

Why wasn’t the work session where Ms. Graboski told Anna off regarding the resolution on the finance committee shown on the town web site? Does everyone remember the one that Anna asked the comptroller to block? Every other work session is on the town web site. ...more
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Feb 1, 10 9:31 AM
Does anyone else find it interesting that the companion piece to this thread, the article about Ms. Wright's reappointment as comptroller can no longer be found on this site? Does anyone think it has anythiniig to do with the story in this weeks Independent, which mentions the reappointment as an aside to the larger story, which is at the same meeting, Ms. Wright reported that after all the hand wringing of the past year, there is actually no defecit in the capital budget? How could that go unreported ...more
By DJII13 (155), Hampton Bays on Feb 3, 10 7:11 AM
And now magically it's back....must of been one of those darn internet gremlins
By DJII13 (155), Hampton Bays on Feb 3, 10 9:59 AM