Schiavoni Joins Ticket In Southampton Town Board Race
By Stephen J. Kotz
Tommy John Schiavoni of North Haven has been picked by the Southampton Town Democrats to round out the party’s ticket for the November Election.
Mr. Schiavoni, who has served on the Sag Harbor School Board for the past three years and has been a member of the Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals for a year, will join incumbent Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and Councilwoman Julie Lofstad on the ticket.
Southampton Republicans have chosen Ray Overton, a former Southampton Town Trustee from Westhampton, as their candidate for supervisor, and Thea Dombrowski-Fry of Water Mill to run for town board. Incumbent Councilman Stan Glinka of Hampton Bays rounds out the ticket.
In the first of several expected cross-endorsements, the Southampton Town Independence Party, chaired by state Assemblyman Fred. W. Thiele Jr., announced this week that it has largely endorsed the Democratic slate, except in the case of the town Trustees, where it has endorsed the Republican slate.
Mr. Schiavoni said on Tuesday that the time was right for his first run at town office. “There is a great opportunity in Southampton to work on an issue that is near and dear to me: water quality,” he said, citing voter approval last year of a plan to use up to 20 percent of revenue from the Community Preservation Fund and a state commitment to spend $2.5 billion on water quality projects.
The candidate said he would also like to bring to the town level the issue of tick-borne diseases, a problem, he said, that has been under-reported across the East End and is more serious than many people think. He said he would like to see the town devote more resources to combatting the problem.
Mr. Schiavoni also cited the lack of affordable housing for workers and residents alike and said he supported the recent effort of Supervisor Schneiderman to eliminate planned development districts in town, saying they too often resulted in giveaways to developers.
Mr. Schiavoni, who also served on the North Haven Village Board and as a member of that village’s ZBA, was elected vice president of the Sag Harbor School Board last year. He said if elected to the town board, he would step down from the school board, but had no plans to do so in the immediate future. He works as a social studies teacher in the Center Moriches School District and is married to Andrea Schiavoni, a Southampton Town justice.
Meanwhile, Damon Hagan, the chairman of the town GOP Committee, said he was optimistic his party’s slate would sweep into power in November.
“After two years under the leadership of Jay Schneiderman, they have shown they are a do-nothing party,” Mr. Hagen said of the Democrats. “They campaigned on a PDD moratorium, and they just kicked the can down the curb for a year.”
Neither Mr. Overton, who served one two-year term as town Trustee and now runs a consulting business, nor Ms. Dombrowski-Fry, a former Southampton Village police officer who is now a teacher’s aide at Southampton Intermediate School, could be reached for comment.
Mr. Glinka said he looked forward to continuing to work to revitalize commercial properties and provide jobs for town residents. A vice president for private banking at Bridgehampton National Bank, he said he looked forward to a second term and serving the people of the town and said he would be happy to work with members of either party.
As the board’s liaison to police and code enforcement, Mr. Glinka said he had gone on a number of ride-alongs with officers over the past year and learned to appreciate the challenges they face on the job.
Gordon Herr, the chairman of the town’s Democratic Committee, expressed the same type of optimism for his party’s chances as Mr. Hagan did, saying Mr. Schneiderman “has done an amazing job” in his first term and Mr. Schiavoni and Ms. Lofstad, who is seeking her first-full term after winning a special election in January 2016, are both highly qualified.
He noted that there are slightly more Democrats registered in Southampton Town than Republicans, reversing a long tradition.
“People are tired of what’s been happening in this country, and we have demonstrated over last number of years that we are a serious organization,” he said by way of explanation.
In other races, incumbent Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor, who is a member of the Independence Party but has been cross-endorsed by the Democrats, will be challenged by Republican Lance Aldrich, who served as deputy to former Highway Superintendent William Masterson.
For Trustee, the Republicans have once again endorsed incumbents Ed Warner Jr. and Scott Horowitz and are cross-endorsing incumbents Bill Pell of the Independence Party and Bruce Stafford, a Conservative. They have nominated Down Law.
The Democratic Party has nominated Camden Ackerman, Gary Glanz and Anne Welker, while cross-endorsing Mr. Pell.