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Mary-Faith Westervelt quits Community Housing Board

In a surprise move, Mary-Faith Westervelt has resigned from the Community Housing Board (CHB).

The announcement came in a letter to the Town Board announced on Friday.

Ms. Westervelt is leaving the board because of what she termed a possible conflict of interest.

The CHB is expecting to move forward soon on a project for affordable apartments and, as an attorney, she said that a project could be jeopardized by charges she was benefitting from the situation.

Without being specific, she explained that the CHB has recently recommended a project to the Town Board and members have expressed interest in pursuing it. Whether she has a relationship with any principals involved in the project, or thought there could be a charge made, even if unfounded, she decided to step down.

Ms. Westervelt has been a moving force behind a reinvigorated effort to create affordable rental units on the Island.

The Town Board will advertise the opening for a new committee member. Mike Bebon, a committee member and a candidate for the Town Board, told members at Tuesday’s work session that the ideal candidate would have a background in real estate, finance or law.

As for a selection of a new chair person for the CHB, Supervisor Gary Gerth said it would be rare for a new member to come in and immediately take that role.

He suggested when members meet Thursday, they discuss who they might like to see take the lead.