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Resident challenges Shelter Island Town Board liaisons to water committee: Says they were advocating for applicant

What’s the role of Town Board liaisons to other boards and committees?

Islander Pam Demarest raised the issue at Tuesday’s Town Board work session, saying she was upset by Board liaisons seeming to advocate for an applicant at the previous night’s Waterways Management Advisory Council (WMAC).

Ms. Demarest said she found it offensive. The subject of the discussion was a dock application for Big Ram LLC that Jack Costello of Costello Marine has been shepherding through for approval for Aandrea Carter, The Ram’s Head Inn owner.

Ms. Demarest didn’t mention the liaisons by name — Councilwoman BJ Ianfolla and Councilman Jim Colligan — but noted it was inappropriate for them to be sitting at the table with the applicant. She called it “a little disturbing.”

As she experienced it, Ms. Demarest said the liaisons were suggesting how the WMAC should approach the project.

‘I would like to see that kind of behavior cease,” Ms. Demarest said.

“Noted,” Ms. Ianfolla said.

Mr. Colligan said he had heard WMAC members express a desire to find a way to improve communication that could clarify what needed to be done to bring the discussion to a head and result in a vote.

“I didn’t come across in favor of the applicant,” Mr. Colligan said. “If you misinterpreted it any other way, I’m sorry about that.”

Deputy Supervisor Amber Brach-Williams said she had the same impression as Ms. Demarest had, while Supervisor Gerry Siller, who also was following the meeting, said he didn’t see anybody advocating, but were simply trying to bring the issue to a vote.

COVID-19 alert

Ms. Brach-Williams spoke about escalating COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and asked residents to await word from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on vaccine inoculations and behaviors to avoid becoming sick.