New Mayor James Larocca Takes The Helm In Sag Harbor

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Sag Harbor Village Mayor James L. Larocca is sworn in by Village Clerk Beth Kamper. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

New Sag Harbor Mayor James Larocca was sworn in at an event that mixed elements of a celebratory gathering of about 100 supporters with official business at John Steinbeck Waterfront Park on Tuesday.

In a short address, Mr. Larocca called for unity in the face of challenges facing the village and recognized that he had defeated former Mayor Kathleen Mulcahy by the slimmest of margins in a hard-fought election, noting that “the difference between the two candidates was only 1/10 of 1 percent, which means we had an effective tie.”

“I call on everybody who supported me and those who did not to come together at this time,” Mr. Larocca said. “The matters facing this village are too big and too important for anything less than a unified community with a unified purpose, and that purpose is pretty simple: We want to preserve, protect, and nourish what we have. We want to lay the groundwork for the future.”

Mr. Larocca said the village has come under intense pressure as it has grown more popular and its real estate values have soared, bringing crowds to its roads and business district, eliminating affordable housing for young and old alike, and straining its waterfront, which he said was the most important element of its economy.

Solving problems associated with those factors are all on the agenda, he said. “None of that can happen unless we pull together.”

During Tuesday’s organizational meeting, Mr. Larocca appointed Ed Haye, a native of the village who formerly served on the Sag Harbor School Board and Mashashimuet Park, to fill the year remaining on his trustee term.

Trustee Tom Gardella, who served as deputy mayor under Ms. Mulcahy, was reappointed to that position and given the additional title of police commissioner.

As mayor, Mr. Larocca will remain liaison to public works and the waterfront and docks, while Mr. Haye will serve as liaison to the Mashashimuet Park Board and the village Justice Court, while Mr. Gardella will be assigned the police and fire departments as well as the Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps. Trustee Aidan Corish, who was out of town this week, was reassigned as liaison for the village sewage treatment plant and the grant writing.

The name of Trustee Robert Plumb, who had served as liaison to the Building Department, was conspicuous by its absence from the list of committee assignments.

Mr. Plumb and Mr. Larocca have had a tense relationship since the campaign. The mayor said he would announce additional appointments at the board’s next formal meeting on Tuesday, July 13, and said he was committed to working with Mr. Plumb. On Tuesday, Mr. Plumb said he had not spoken to the mayor since the election, but said he hoped to continue to serve as liaison to the building department.

Beth Kamper was appointed to a two-year term as village clerk, but it appears that will be short-lived. On Tuesday morning, Ms. Kamper, who is 55, confirmed that she would retire on September 18 after serving the village for 18 years, 11 as village clerk.

With resignations from Tim McGuire, the chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals and Dean Golmoka, the chairman of the Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review having been announced last month, Mr. Larocca thanked them for their service and named their replacements.

Val Florio, who served on the BHPAR, will become chairman of the ZBA, and newcomer Jeanne Kane will become chairwoman of the BHPAR. Christian Cooney was appointed to a three-year term on the BHPAR, while veteran member Bethany Deyermond was also given another term.

Dee Yardley will remain on as superintendent of public works; Timothy Bullock was reappointed village treasurer; Elizabeth Vail was reappointed to another term as village attorney, and Denise Schoen will remain on as Planning Board attorney and Fred W. Thiele Jr. will serve as Harbor Committee attorney.

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