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Gerth sworn in: Pledges to be ‘responsible, responsive’

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO Supervisor Gary Gerth (top) was sworn into office Tuesday afternoon by Justice Court Judge Mary-Faith Westervelt as Veronica Kaasik held a bible.

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO
Supervisor Gary Gerth (top) was sworn into office Tuesday afternoon by Justice Court Judge Mary-Faith Westervelt as Veronica Kaasik held a bible.

The Town Hall meeting room was packed Tuesday afternoon as Supervisor Gary Gerth was sworn in along with incumbent Councilwoman Amber Brach-Williams and newly-elected Councilman Albert Dickson.

The new supervisor will receive an annual salary of $85,750 while members of the Town Board each receive $39,228.

Ms. Brach-Williams was also appointed deputy supervisor and will receive an additional $1,000 per year for her services in that position.

“We’re going to be responsible and responsive,” Mr. Gerth promised the audience. To his Town Board colleagues came a plea that they all work together for the good of Shelter Island.

Councilman Jim Colligan said he was optimistic about what could be accomplished in the year ahead, saying he hoped in 2018, the Town Board would be proactive instead of reactive.

“I’m looking to see we do the things we said we were going to do last year,” Councilman Paul Shepherd said.

Mr. Dickson said it was a privilege to have been elected and pronounced himself ready to go to work.

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO Newly elected Councilman Albert Dickson made it official Tuesday taking the oath of office administered by Judge Mary-Faith Westervelt.

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO
Newly elected Councilman Albert Dickson made it official Tuesday taking the oath of office administered by Judge Mary-Faith Westervelt.

Others taking the oath of office included Dorothy Ogar as Town Clerk; Jay Card Jr. as Public Works Commissioner; and Craig Wood and Pat Castoldi as assessors, with Mr. Wood being appointed as tax administrator and chairman of the Board of Assessors.

Father Peter DeSanctis offered an invocation, quoting from the Book of Wisdom and offering a prayer to guide the town’s officials.

At the January 9 Town Board work session, Mr. Colligan said appointments would be made of liaisons to various committees. He said he and his colleagues would begin to work on a set of goals for the year ahead.

The Town Board should be accountable to the public and judged by how effectively it achieves goals, Mr. Colligan said. Among those, he noted, would be the development of a capital budget to enable the board to focus on specific areas that have been neglected.

After a break for celebratory refreshments, the Town Board got down to work in its annual organizational meeting, making a raft of appointments:
• Drawing applause from those still in attendance, John Cronin returns as part-time town engineer, a post he resigned last fall, noting “a leadership vacuum” at town hall. His salary is capped at $60,000 since he draws a pension for previous work. But the hours that salary will cover are double the 500 hours he previously was contracted to fill.
Mr. Colligan, in reading the appointment resolution, told Mr. Cronin, “It is with great pleasure” to have the engineer back in town service.
• Bob DeStefano Jr. was officially appointed to replace Laury Dowd as town attorney following her resignation that became effective December 31. With his father sitting in the audience, there was a bit of joshing about referring to the new town attorney as “young Bob.” Mr. DeStefano Jr. is retired as a golf pro at the Gardiner’s Bay Country Club where he served for half a century and currently is a columnist for the Reporter.
• Marcus Kaasik, who ran for Town Board in November, as a member of the Planning Board
• Reappointment Police Chief Jim Read as emergency management coordinator
• Reappointment Police Detective Sergeant Jack Thilberg as EMS director
• Reappointment of Beau Payne as Animal Control Officer
• Arthur Bloom as fire marshall to serve up to 10 hours a week at the rate of $25 per hour
• Appointments of Albert Labrozzi Jr., Peter Vielbig and John Mahoney as bay constables

The Town Board also set fees for use of the fitness center and athletic fields as follows: FIT daily membership $15; single yearly fitness room membership, $235; Family annual fitness room membership, $365; yearly membership for full-time college students, $100; and annual membership for volunteers, EMTs and active members of the military, $175.

A complete list of all appointments will appear on the town website.

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