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Deadlocked: Shelter Island Town Board fails to act to fill vacant seat

In an extraordinary development, the newly-elected Town Board announced at Tuesday’s work session their failure to come to a consensus or compromise on filling the vacant Town Board seat.

Following interviews of 11 candidates, members were deadlocked and couldn’t agree on anyone.

Accordingly, Ms. Brach-Williams informed the 11 candidates of the failure to act and said that while “it’s unfortunate,” the next step is to have a special election to fill the seat.

That requires the Town Board at its Feb. 26 regular meeting to pass a resolution informing Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) of the situation and requesting that she allow a special election to take place. If the governor approves, it would then be up to the Board of Elections to set a date for the special election.

If an appointment had been made, that person would have served until the end of this year. By holding a special election, the winner will serve until the end of 2025, completing Ms. Brach-Williams’ term prior to her becoming supervisor.

Democratic Councilmen Benjamin Dyett and Albert Dickson said they would prefer to leave the seat open until the November election. People are more apt to turn out because it is a presidential election year, they said, than might come out for a special election.

Mr. Dyett noted the cost of running a special election will be $30,000.

“That’s the cost of democracy,” Ms. Brach-Williams responded, favoring a special election rather than leaving the seat open until November.