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Cantwell Sets the Tone After Taking Oath as Town Supervisor

New East Hampton supervisor promises advance agendas and no more walk-on resolutions as he takes office.

The new town board. From left, Fred Overton, Sylvia Overby, Larry Cantwell, Peter Van Scoyoc, and Kathe Burke-Gonzalez. Credit: Taylor K. Vecsey
The new town board. From left, Fred Overton, Sylvia Overby, Larry Cantwell, Peter Van Scoyoc, and Kathe Burke-Gonzalez. Credit: Taylor K. Vecsey
East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell took office on Thursday morning, and while he had to hit the ground running due to the impending snow storm, he set the tone for the new administration.

An organizational meeting was held after officials elected in November took their oaths of office, including Justice Steven Tekulsky, Town Clerk Carole Brennan, Highway Superintendent Stephen Lynch. When Cantwell took a seat at the dais with newly elected town council members Kathee Burke-Gonzalez and Fred Overton, he laid out some key initiatives for the now Democratic majority town board.

Some of the most simple, such as publishing agendas two days before town board meetings, drew a round of applause from the audience. Advance agendas and walk-on resolutions had long been a bone of contention during Bill Wilkinson's administration. Walk-on resolutions will no longer be permitted, unless time is of the essence, and only then if the board unanimously agrees, Cantwell said. "The public has a right to know the business of the town board," he said.

"We begin the new year with great hope and expectations," Cantwell said. "I know there will be disagreement from divergent points of view. But, if we work together to find common ground and maintain our small town values, if we respect each other and our differences, if we continue the stewardship of our extraordinary natural environment, if we demonstrate our compassion for the frail and the elderly and the less fortunate and those new to our community, and we support the working class, who are the backbone of our community, then this great, more than 350 year old town will survive and it will prosper."

Cantwell singled out the town employees. "I want you to know that we value your work," he said.

But one past resident, not involved in town government, was at the forefront of Cantwell's mind. He dedicated his first town board meeting to Lee A. Hayes, a longtime East Hampton resident and former Tuskegee Airman who died last month.

"It saddens me how little we recognized and celebrated him during his lifetime," Cantwell said. "Over the many years that I knew Lee, he always went about his businesses contributing to the community. He educated us about the need to move our society forward," he said.

Cantwell, who ran unopposed on the Democratic and Independence party lines, chose fellow Democrat Peter Van Scoyoc, who was elected two years ago, as the Deputy Town Supervisor, a title he said he was honored to accept.

Van Scoyoc said he is looking forward to "a calm and focused" board. "Larry set the tone," he said. 

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Among other changes Cantwell initiated, the town board's bi-monthly meetings at night will begin at 6:30 p.m., instead of 7 p.m. Cantwell said the board discussed it during planning meetings he held after the election, and they felt an early start time has worked well for other boards, such as the planning board and school boards.

The new supervisor also directed the parks department not to "waste time and money" making new signs with his name for the signs at town facilities, except for Town Hall. " I don’t see the benefit of seeing the supervisor’s name advertised on town facilities," he said.
Gail Simons January 03, 2014 at 08:26 AM
Congratulations, again! This new board gives me hope & excitement for our town!
Judith Hope January 03, 2014 at 09:18 AM
Larry is a class act - the dedication of the first town board meeting to the late Lee Hayes was inspired. It means a lot to so many of us. A wonderful and generous way to set a new tone in Town Hall.
MARTIN DREW January 03, 2014 at 10:01 AM
CONGRATULATIONS TO MR. CANTWELL ON HIS VICTORY ! HE INDEED IS A CLASS ACT. Maybe he will NOT forget the locals who have been seeking assimilation into the fabric of their community BEFORE addressing "those new to our community ' - a community only exisits when ALL its residents are ACCEPTED / TOLERATED & ASSIMILATED into COMMUNITY IDEALS .. CONTINUED DISCRIMINATION IS NO LONGER ACCEPTED - so knowing the finances are under control thnx to BILL WILKINSON AND LEN BERNARD ; MAYBE HE WILL BE THE ONE TO RIGHT SOCIAL INJUSTICES LONG OVERDUE LOCALS WHO HAVE BEEN OUTLAWED FROM USING OUR TOWNS NATURAL RESOURCES ; "they" get everything we created ; while "WE" get nothing as result of selfish hypocrisy .. YES CONGRATS TO LARRY - A CLASS ACT - LETS SEE HOW HE deals with the obvious injustice of being created a outlaw in our own town trails (300 miles ) in regard to issues I have fought for for so many DECADES!!! WE CREATED THE BACK HIGHWAY TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM ON MOTORCYCLES - YOU DIDN'T THINK IT WAS THE DEER DO YOU? WE DEMAND A PLACE TO RECREATE AT OUR LIFESTYLE CHOICE > IF NOT THE TRAILS THEN A DEDICATED SITE - WE DON'T MATTER BUT THEY DO ? DO you GET IT YET ? EQUALITY UNDER THE LAW - LET'S SEE. BEST TO FRED OVERTON AND KATHY GONZALEZ - THEY TOO HAVE MORAL OBLIGATION AS LEADERS HOPEFULLY THEY WILL RECOGNIZE MY POINTS OF VIEW ..WE'LL SEE HAPPY NEW YEAR - SAY THESE WORDS WITH ME..ACCEPTANCE TOLERANCE & ASSIMILATION- NOT JUST PALM CARD PROMISES - DENYING US IS SOCIAL INJUSTICE - HOW DO WE MOVE FORWARD AS A real community? I'm listening .. SAY THE WORDS WITH ME...
Lady L January 03, 2014 at 10:39 AM
Drew, social justice is just another word for socialism. Freedom is spelled out in the Bill of Rights. No special privileges, especially for illegal immigrants. Taxpayers are sick of being used to solve every problem created by the bleeding hearts and those who refuse to work. We are a land of opportunity to excel or fail, not to make everyone happy and content in their indolence. We are SO overtaxed that we are bordering on full blown socialism. We are running the young and bright out of state. Let's find legislators who will stop the theft of our hard earned money and wasteful spending.
Christina DeLauro January 10, 2014 at 06:53 AM
Ayn Rand - Atlas Shrugged !

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