Shelter Island resident Vincent Novak, who has been in the news for having complained to the Suffolk County Department of Health Services about public swimming in Fresh Pond, wants Supervisor Jim Dougherty to correct the impression that Mr. Novak “bugged” his telephone three years ago.
Mr. Dougherty made a reference to Mr. Novak and the “bugging” of his phone at the Town Board work session last week, as the board and Mr. Novak, who was in the audience, bickered over his complaint to the county. It has resulted in a county demand that the town ban swimming at Fresh Pond, Shell Beach and Menhaden Lane because they lack the facilities required under state and county law for public beaches.
In an email he sent to the supervisor this week that Mr. Novak asked be entered “into the public record,” he wrote that the supervisor’s use of the word “‘bugging’ suggests that I physically tapped into your telephone line to listen to your private conversations. That did not happen. I legally recorded my telephone conversation with you, on my telephone, within the confines of my own home. As you like to say, ‘trust but verify.'”
“You created the impression that I committed a crime. Please correct this misstatement, publicly, at the next work session,” Mr. Novak wrote.
“I will continue to exercise my legal and constitutional rights, whether you agree with it or not. When necessary, I will contact any county, state or federal entity, as I see fit. It is every citizen’s right to do so.”
“Councilman Reich’s angry public response to the SCDHS directive was uncalled for,” Mr. Novak added, “and could incite others to violence. I ask that that the town not cause any more harm. I have requested extra SIPD patrols at my home. Governing with vengeance, harassment and intimidation is what bureaucratic dictators do in communist countries.
“Understand that all of this could have been avoided had any consideration been given to my wife and myself before the Fresh Pond town landing was converted to a beach in 2007. Retaliation and intimidation is not the way. Enough is enough. Please enter this correspondence into the public record.”
The supervisor’s office passed on the email to the other Town Board members, the town clerk, the town attorney and the Reporter. At Tuesday’s work session, Mr. Dougherty made no statement about Mr. Novak’s request. Mr. Novak did not attend the meeting.