By Christine Sampson
The Suffolk County Village Officials Association, comprised of representatives from Suffolk’s 33 incorporated villages, last week honored Sag Harbor Village Mayor Sandra Schroeder as its “Distinguished Service Award” recipient.
The honor is given to one elected official or village employee each year, and is determined by a vote of the association’s executive board.
Paul Tonna, executive director of the SCVOA, which was established more than 60 years ago, said in an interview Ms. Schroeder was the board’s unanimous choice.
“Her background, her life, has been steeped in village life,” he said. “Coming from all the different positions she has held … she has been a very steady, even voice. She is somebody that really has such passion for her role as a public servant.”
The organization cited Ms. Schroeder’s leadership in the wake of the December 16, 2016 fire that devastated Main Street; her role in passing the village’s gross floor area law, which limits the size of houses in a village concerned with overdevelopment; and several other accomplishments over the last year.
East Hampton Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. presented Ms. Schroeder with the award last week. He said by phone on Wednesday that in his remarks about his counterpart in Sag Harbor, he described Ms. Schroeder as “an American success story.”
“This year Sandra’s name came up insofar as how under the auspices of the village government reacted to the tragic fire, she was cohesive and lent a firm hand to a very devastating situation,” Mr. Rickenbach said. “I think she’s doing a very nice job working with her village board.”
Ms. Schroeder, who was elected a trustee in 2014 and then elected mayor in 2015, said Wednesday the award is the result of a team effort on the part of the village board and its employees.
“It’s such an honor to be recognized. It was very special,” she said. “When they called me up and told me about this, I had chills.”
When she accepted the award at the SCVOA dinner on Thursday, April 6, she said she told the audience, “’This isn’t for one person.’”
“I have a wonderful team I work with, and everyone together did this,” Ms. Schroeder said. “I just sit in the middle of the table. It’s a group effort, and I accepted it with great honor.”