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Guest Column: Supervisor Gerry Siller’s report

It’s near the end of February and I thought this might be a good time to give everyone an update on the State of the Town.

Contrary to what you might have heard, or read, the Town is in very good shape. The new make-up of the Town Board is more diverse than it’s ever been before. Along with a three-woman majority, we now have a representative from a younger Island demographic.

There has long been talk in the Town of creating the position of Town Manager. The Board has heard over and over that running the Town is much more complex than it has ever been and that it might be time to bring in an administrator who can provide a continuity of operations. In order to address this, we created the position of administrative assistant to the supervisor and the Town Board.

This position was discussed in detail during the budget season in October 2021 and implemented for 2022.

The main objectives for this position are to assist the Town Board in research, follow up on issues discussed at meetings, manage the calendar for the Town Board, improve communication and provide assistance to Town Committees, as well as other issues that might impact the day-to-day operations.

In short, helping to manage the magnitude of the priorities of the Town Board is the key component of this position as well as achieving successful outcomes.

Kristina Martin Majdisova has been clerk to the Planning Board, Zoning Board, Water Advisory Council, Waterways Management Advisory Council and the town attorney, as well as sharing the duties of the Media Department with Mary Ellen McGayhey. She has proven her value to the Town through her involvement with these committees, as well as her performance as she stepped up to help the Town handle all the unforeseen activities and technical needs due to the COVID pandemic.

Kristina’s annual salary of $84,000 includes duties at Waterways Management Advisory Council, Community Preservation Fund Advisory Board, Media Department and the role of administrative assistant to the supervisor, town attorney and Town Board.

After Bob DeStefano’s four-year service to the Town, the Board felt it was time to move in a different direction with our legal counsel, based on the complexities of issues coming before the Board.

Stephen Kiely, the new town attorney, has a background working with numerous Towns on the East End dealing with issues including zoning, planning, building departments, highway departments, code enforcement, litigation, acting as a prosecutor as well as being a sole practitioner working on the East End.

Stephen’s salary of $140,000 is a significant increase from the previous salary. The Board believes that in order to attract talented staff, we need to offer comparable salaries to those of other municipalities and private businesses.

The Town Board made the commitment in the 2022 budget to increase staffing in the Building Department. With Chris Tehan’s retirement, monies were budgeted to make Brett Poleshuk full-time, hire another full-time building inspector/code enforcement officer as well as hire a part-time clerk.

With the resignation of the permit examiner, unanticipated funds were available to increase the new clerk position to full time. The new clerk will also act as clerk to the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Contractor Review Board. These changes address the growing concern by taxpayers that the Town has been inconsistent in its enforcement of the Town code.

Over the next few weeks, I will begin to address issues currently before the Town Board, some of which include:

• Implementation of an agreement with the Suffolk County Water Authority to operate the West Neck Water System.

• The continued study and evaluation of a possible wastewater treatment plant to deal with contaminants in the center of Town.

• Two proposed community housing projects.

• Update on the Comprehensive Plan.

• Examination of commercial moorings, a possible increase in mooring fees as well as other aspects of the mooring code.

• Potential Town Board action to protect Mashomack Preserve.