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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor: March 14, 2024

Proposed Dem reforms

To the Editor:

Currently, there is a contest regarding who will serve on the Shelter Island Democratic Committee (SIDC). We, the undersigned, include current or prior members of the SIDC who have striven to navigate the challenges that led to this contest.

Why do we need change now?

There were issues in reviewing candidates for the fifth town board seat. Burt Waife was added unilaterally by the chair to the SIDC petition without consultation or a vote from the Committee. Further, the chair ignored and dismissed the request of Gordon Gooding to meet with and be considered.

Additionally, candidates for the Committee were added who only recently registered as Democrats. This lack of appropriate governance undermines the integrity of the process and, more significantly, the trust of the voters.

Further, a history of treasury mismanagement was identified by the new treasurer. The SIDC’s bank account access was revoked due to improper account setup. Additionally, donations were received improperly leading to the return of Fall 2023 donations. An accountant is now tasked with rectifying a decade’s worth of incorrect filings. Although no malfeasance is suspected, the lack of adequate oversight raises questions about governance and transparency.

It is evident that a transformation is overdue. Embracing democracy means embracing the messiness that comes with it, including discussions and compromises.

Our Proposed Reforms:

1. Democratic Principles: All decisions, including candidate selection, should be subjected to a vote within the Committee. The Committee should represent all Democrats on Shelter Island.

2. Transparency and Inclusivity: The committee must proactively support potential candidates, conduct open meetings for registered Democrats, and share party business details with transparency.

3. Financial Integrity: Maintaining clear and accurate financial records is paramount to avoid legal entanglements and ensure accountability.

We welcome your support for a more transparent, forward-looking, and professionally-run SIDC.

CAT BRIGHAM — Vice-Chair SIDC ,  LIZ HANLEY — Treasurer SIDC, GREG TONER — SIDC, BARRIE SILVER — SIDC, Bill Mastro (Mastrogiacomo) — (former) SIDC, KATHY GOODING, MARK MOBIUS

Steps toward resolution

To the Editor:

The Shelter Island Democratic Committee (SIDC) interviewed and vetted candidates for Town Council early January through late February. There was no consensus. I was advised that the Chair could place a name on the petition in the absence of consensus. I selected Bert Waife, who was previously interviewed by the SIDC and unanimously approved in 2023 for Town Council.

This doesn’t prevent other candidates from obtaining and completing their own petitions for the seat. Petitions enable a candidate to get on the ballot. Should an additional candidate successfully petition, the individual is decided by a primary.

An individual feels that he was overlooked regarding selection for this seat. To our knowledge, and his admission, he did not apply for the Town Board appointment. He didn’t contact the SIDC regarding the open seat until late February following the conclusion of the selection process. He did not request an interview, only asked for an endorsement.

Regarding the treasury of the SIDC, as some of you may know, my husband suffered a nearly fatal accident last year and couldn’t continue his duties as treasurer. There’s a decades-old discrepancy to be resolved. It worsened once a new treasurer was appointed by the New York State Board of Elections as requested by the SIDC. Once aware, we promptly began the process of rectifying the issue assisted by a CPA. Access to the SIDC bank account was not revoked. The hurdle was adding the new treasurer. Steps are being taken to resolve everything.

Regular business of the SIDC is not required to be discussed in an open meeting, many topics being internal matters. We have held many public forums over the years that are open to anyone. We have built up the Democratic Party’s enrollment and presence in a dramatic and positive way.

HEATHER REYLEK, Chair, Shelter Island Democratic Committee

In community

To the Editor:

I’ve read articles here recently about the wait at the Post Office and the opening times of the Pharmacy and just want to express my gratitude for the businesses and services doing what they need to do to stay open on this island.

This weekend I was made aware of just how lucky we are when I had the unfortunate (but thankfully, everything is O.K.) need to call upon the EMS volunteers, and was so very taken by how kind and attentive their care was.

Thank you to everyone who came out — you are truly the angels of Shelter Island! The way in which this island is structured may come with its challenges but, I believe, makes living on it much more special because we are doing so in community; may these personable support systems never go away.

Natalie DIFFORD, Shelter Island

No thanks, George

To the Editor:

Re: On the Reporter’s website —“Disgraced former Congressman George Santos running to represent Shelter Island and East End,” March 9, 2024.

No thank you; the Shelter Island High School volleyball team is already excellent.

SCOTT A. ROBBINS

Shelter Island