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Candidate for Town Board pleaded guilty to felony: Albert Dickson got probation for 2015 violation

Former town councilman Albert Dickson, and currently a candidate in November for a seat on the Town Board, pleaded guilty in federal court in Charleston, S.C. in January 2015 to a felony for making a false statement under the federal Clean Water Act.

The ultimate penalty for violating that part of the Clean Water Act is up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Mr. Dickson was sentenced in September 2015 to two years’ probation and fined $100. Part of the probation judgment was an electronic monitoring system for three months.

According to United States Attorney Bill Nettles, evidence revealed that Mr. Dickson was the project manager overseeing renovations of a federal building in Charleston in the spring and early summer of 2011. According to the U.S. Attorney, inspectors from the South Carolina Department of of Health and Environmental Control visited the site in June 2014 and noticed asbestos violations, including sweeping asbestos-containing materials down open drains.

The U.S. attorney said that, when questioned, Mr. Dickson indicated that a filtration system had been in place at the time of the inspections. But Mr. Nettles said investigators later learned the system wasn’t put into place until after the violations were reported.

“My company was awarded a project in Charleston, S.C. and subcontracted the work to a firm from Atlanta,” Mr. Dickson told the Reporter on Thursday. “My role as project manager was to oversee the job, ensure that the work was conducted in a professional manner and adhered to full regulatory compliance. The contractor ultimately proved to be unscrupulous.”

Mr. Dickson added, “I grew up on Shelter Island. In my lifelong love of this community, I served as a councilman on the Town Board, and I was a felon then. I think voters will be more interested in the four years I served as the leading and sometimes sole advocate for clean water.”

Elected in 2017 to the Board as a Democrat, Mr. Dickson didn’t seek re-election in November 2021, citing family time as a reason to bypass another run.

But he threw his hat in the ring this year as a candidate on the Democratic line. Mr. Dickson said his decision to run again for the Town Board was because he sees “a death of communication” and “a growing us versus them” approach to governing. “The divisiveness that exists needs to be eliminated.”

“It’s not just water issues in the Center,” Mr. Dickson added. “Other areas of the Island are also troubled with contaminants and there’s a need to be more protective of wetlands,” he said.