Sag Harbor Trustee Candidate Profile: Ken O’Donnell

Ken O'Donnell.
Ken O’Donnell.

The owner of La Superica restaurant, Ken O’Donnell said the catalyst for his first run for village trustee in 2013 was the possibility that Sag Harbor would disband its police force. Given what he said was Southampton Town’s inability to provide adequate coverage, Mr. O’Donnell said disbanding the force was simply not acceptable. “It’s nice having that presence here,” he said of the local police. “It adds to the quality of life.”

Mr. O’Donnell, who grew up in Southampton, said his first term was largely on-the-job training. While praising outgoing Mayor Brian Gilbride for his dedication to the village, Mr. O’Donnell said the mayor’s tendency to keep his cards close to the vest resulted in some missed opportunities. No matter who is elected mayor this year, Mr. O’Donnell, who is running unopposed, said he expects “going forward there will be more of a team environment.”

During his next term, Mr. O’Donnell said he would like to see the board:

*Adopt a capital plan and take out bonds to cover any number of issues, from Long Wharf repairs to the Municipal Building. “In the current economic environment, you’re talking about being able to borrow money for nothing,” he said of the historic low interest rates available. “It’s in our best interest to address these issues now.”

*Renovate the Municipal Building, which he calls the “crown jewel of Sag Harbor.” Like other board members he says if an elevator can be installed it is possible the village could rent the top floor and recoup much of the cost of renovation in rent.

*Make negotiations new contracts with both the police and CSEA employee unions a priority. “After the arbitration decision was made last year, there was a small window,” he said of the police contract. “When we started we weren’t even in the same neighborhood, but now at least we are on the same street,” he said.

*Tighten the zoning code to make it more difficult for property owners to tear down houses and replace them with oversized houses on constrained lots.

By Stephen J. Kotz