Scalera Considers Run for Southampton Supervisor; Schneiderman Seeks Third Term

Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and Councilwoman Christine Scalera at a recent Town Board meeting. Peter Boody photo

Republican Councilwoman Christine Scalera of Water Mill is considering a run for Southampton Town supervisor this year after having served nearly two four-year terms on the Town Board, the maximum allowed under the town’s term-limit rules.

Her announcement, first reported on last week, prompted Supervisor Jay Schneiderman to move up his own schedule for declaring his candidacy for a third two-year term.

“I haven’t officially made my ‘planning to run’ kickoff announcement,” he said last week, “but I’m certainly running.” He said he would seek the Democratic nomination and minor-party endorsements as well.

Ms. Scalera, 54, is a graduate of Jericho High School, has served on the Town Board since 2011 and currently is the only Republican on the panel, occasionally sparring politely with Mr. Schneiderman.

Most recently, she opposed his plan for the town to buy the blighted Bel-Aire Cove Motel in Hampton Bay, restore it with urban renewal funding and sell it for continued operation as a resort motel. Like the Hampton Bays Civic Association, she prefers for the town to buy the property with Community Preservation Funds, ending its motel use, an option no other Town Board members appear to favor.

Asked to comment on a possible run for supervisor last week, she replied by text: “I’ve been fortunate to be able to serve the Town of Southampton as your councilwoman. This is the community where I live and raise my daughter, so I very much want to remain at the town level. Having served at that level for the last almost eight years, I believe I understand our continuing needs and so it seems a natural progression for me.”

Ms. Scalera holds a BS degree in communications from Boston University and a law degree from Touro Law School. She has served as deputy attorney for Southampton Town, deputy attorney for Nassau County, and assistant town attorney for the Town of Oyster Bay. She has also served as an assistant and a deputy attorney for the Town of Brookhaven.

Mr. Scheiderman, 56, a graduate of Hauppauge High School, has a BA degree in chemistry from Ithaca College and an MA degree in education from SUNY Cortland. He managed his family’s Montauk motel and later former a property management company.

A former county legislator and East Hampton Town supervisor who ran unsuccessfully for Suffolk County comptroller last year, Mr. Schneiderman said he would seek reelection as supervisor because “I want to continue making progress for the Town of Southampton. Things are going well” in terms of issues “from protecting the environment to making Southampton more livable” for lower- and middle-class wage earners.

He said he had delivered three consecutive budgets without raising town property taxes. “I’m a skilled manager. The issues that face the town are complex,” such as the growing problem of “emerging contaminants” being found in groundwater. “You want somebody who has the experience and a proven record.”

Town Democratic Committee Chair Gorden Herr said the committee would be holding its nominating convention for all town offices on February 13. Mr. Schneiderman will be the party’s candidate for supervisor, “as far as I’m concerned,” he said, adding that no challengers have come forward.

The party also is expected to nominate Councilman John Bouvier for a second term. It will name a candidate, whom Mr. Herr did not identify, to run for the vacancy on the Town Board created by Ms. Scalera’s term-limit departure as a councilwoman.

David Betts, chair of the Southampton Town Republican Committee, said the party would hold its nominating convention February 20. “We will announce our slate at the convention,” he commented. “We have some very talented people screening.” He declined to identify anyone who has screened or intends to screen.