Schroeder, O’Donnell & Gardella to Seek Office in Sag Harbor

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Sag Harbor Mayor Sandra Schroeder will seek a second term, she said on Wednesday, and will run alongside incumbent Trustee Ken O’Donnell and former Sag Harbor Fire Department Chief Thomas Gardella in the June 20 election for Sag Harbor Village Board.

Trustee Ed Deyermond said this week he would not seek another term, and added he supported Ms. Schroeder’s decision to tap Mr. Gardella to run for one of two trustee seats open in this June’s election.

The deadline to file a petition to run for village office is Tuesday, May 16, according to Sag Harbor Village Clerk Beth Kamper.

“Throughout the years I have served on the village board, I have come and gone because I think it is important to allow other people the opportunity to shoulder that burden,” said Mr. Deyermond on Wednesday. “I just felt it was time to leave.”

Mr. Deyermond has served several terms as trustee and mayor in Sag Harbor, most recently being elected to back-to-back terms in 2013 and 2015. He also is North Haven Village’s clerk, a position he will retain.

“I think the village is in good hands now,” said Mr. Deyermond. “Sandra is doing a good job, and as a board everyone is working well together to move forward on individual projects. Obviously, the John Steinbeck Park is a huge lift and Sandra has been leading that effort, and we hope that will come to fruition soon.”

“Tom is level headed, and I think if he is elected he would make a good addition to the board,” added Mr. Deyermond. “He was a great standout during the Main Street fire in December and has a lot of leadership experience.”

On Wednesday, Ms. Schroeder said she asked Mr. Gardella to join her slate along with Mr. O’Donnell after watching his leadership in the fire department.

Ms. Schroeder, who worked as village clerk and administrator for over two decades, ran an unsuccessful campaign for mayor in 2013. She was elected trustee in 2014, and then mayor in 2015.

Ms. Schroeder said she was seeking a second term as mayor to see specific projects completed, namely the renovation of Long Wharf and the John Steinbeck Waterfront Park. She said she would also like to see the village implement long-term planning strategies for its infrastructure.

Legislation she hopes to explore in a second term, if elected, would focus on water quality, Ms. Schroeder said this week. Specifically, she said the village should look toward adopting stricter codes for the installation of septic systems and push residents toward the installation of new nitrogen-reducing systems. Both East Hampton and Southampton towns are considering legislation that would offer residents significant rebates through their Community Preservation Funds to install those systems, and are simultaneously discussing laws that would mandate nitrogen-reducing systems in new construction or major renovations.

“We have to protect our water or we are nothing,” said Ms. Schroeder. “It doesn’t matter if we have a waterfront park if we can’t keep our water clean. That is my main goal in this next year.”

Mr. O’Donnell, the owner of La Superica restaurant, is seeking a third term.

“The reason I originally ran was the situation with the police department contract and the village, and I feel like we have really settled that as a board,” he said on Wednesday. “We have a new chief in AJ McGuire, and have settled one PBA contract and are getting ready to settle another that will take us through 2021.”

“While I am happy with that, I would like to see the John Steinbeck Park get to the finish line,” he continued. “And we have hired an engineer to work on the renovations to Long Wharf, which I hope will begin this November.”

Another project Mr. O’Donnell said he would like to tackle, if re-elected, is upgrading Havens Beach.

“We need a clean slate down there,” he said. “If we could work with someone like Ed Hollander and create a master plan for the future of that beach, and tackle it over time, I think it has the capability of going from an underappreciated, underutilized parcel in the village to being another jewel in Sag Harbor’s crown.”

For Mr. Gardella, the owner of T. Gardella Plumbing and Heating and a Sag Harbor resident since 1986, being asked to run for trustee by Ms. Schroeder was a surprise, but one he quickly warmed to when he realized it would allow him to continue to serve the community as a volunteer after completing his term as fire chief.

“I decided to do this because I agree with what Sandra is trying to do in terms of trying to preserve the character of Sag Harbor,” said Mr. Gardella.

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