By Kathryn G. Menu
Aidan Corish bested former Sag Harbor Fire Department Chief Thomas Gardella by just five votes, 202 to 197, to win election to the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees Tuesday night. Incumbent Trustee Ken O’Donnell was the top vote getter in the race, collecting 238 ballots to secure a third term on the board.
Mayor Sandra Schroeder, who ran unopposed, received 276 votes. Luke Babcock, Bob Bori Rick Brogna, Mary Anne Miller, Gigi Morris, Thomas John Schiavoni, Scott Smith and Betty Boop each received one write-in vote in the mayoral race.
Ms. Schroeder, Mr. Gardella and Mr. O’Donnell ran for office on the Residents Party ticket, while Mr. Corish ran under the Sag Harbor United Party banner. The elected officials will each serve two-year terms, which will officially begin July 1.
When asked if he would run again following such a close race, Mr. Gardella said he was unsure, but was unwavering in his support for the village.
“I am always here to help the village in whatever the department or village needs,” he said in the Brick Kiln Road headquarters of the Sag Harbor Fire Department, shortly after the results were read. “I will always be here for Sag Harbor. I am not going anywhere.”
“I think Sag Harbor is in good hands and look forward to working with Aidan, obviously an intelligent guy with new vision,” said Mr. O’Donnell, the owner of La Superica restaurant. “And we will go from there.”
“It was a squeaker, as you can see,” said Mr. Corish, a political newcomer who runs the branding and marketing firm, Tangram. “I came in here hopefully optimistic, but my first time out I had no way to know how this would resonate with the village. I put myself out there and was as honest as I could be with my thoughts and ideas and it resonated just enough. I look forward to working with the board for the good of all the village. It is going to be an interesting two years.”
Mr. Corish said he learned a lot during the campaign, which he hopes will aid him as he begins his first term on the board.
“The campaign was an education,” he said. “I learned a lot about the village, a lot about myself. I am looking forward to take all that knowledge and move ahead with that board for the good of the village.”
“I think we do have a lot of common ground,” said Mr. Corish about the sitting board. “Politics is about two things: choices and the future. And I think everyone is committed to the future of our home and making it as good as it can be for everyone.”
A proposition to increase pension payments to volunteer members of the Sag Harbor Fire Department passed easily, receiving 316 votes in favor to 38 votes opposed. The pension program, known as a length of service award program, will increase benefits to retirees from $20 to $30 per month.
That benefit program’s costs will increase by $86,000 annually, and was an initiative supported by the mayor and all three candidates for village board.
“That is what I am happiest about,” said Ms. Schroeder after the race.
O’Donnell also praised the LOSAP referendum results. “That is awesome,” he said. “They deserve it. I am happy they found so much support.”
In other election news, in North Haven Village, incumbent trustees James Laspesa and James Davis were re-elected to that board, earning 41 and 44 votes, respectively.