Editorial: If he wants to reach his goals, Walter should change his ways

04/14/2011 3:53 AM |

If first-term Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter truly believes he is the best man for the town’s top job, and that he has the vision, drive and intellect to do great things for Riverhead, then he should take care not to sabotage himself. Everybody will lose if he’s ousted after just one term — and that’s a growing possibility right now.

It appears most of Mr. Walter’s political problems — the latest was the announcement by Councilman James Wooten that he would challenge him for the Republican nomination for supervisor — stem not so much from decisions being made in Town Hall, but from Mr. Walter’s personal style as those decisions are reached.

Since he took office in January 2009, every council member has said publicly on separate occasions they’ve either been threatened by the supervisor, felt threatened by the supervisor or seen the supervisor threaten other board members
On Monday, second-term Councilman John Dunleavy said Mr. Walter had “used threatening words” against him as recently as last week. In the same interview with the News-Review, Mr. Dunleavy questioned the supervisor’s leadership skills and attributed his failings in that area to “immaturity.”

The supervisor says he just raises his voice a bit when he’s fired up. But it’s clear others feel differently. Mr. Walter should take heed and make some personal adjustments.

Mr. Walter blamed the Wooten uprising not on a personality clash, but on party politics and people “wreaking havoc” behind the scenes in the Republican Committee. The question Mr. Walter should be asking himself and others about that is, “Why?”
Maybe he’ll find that tension within the party stems not so much from competing factions but problems with his management style. Either way, it’s clear a change would help town government work better in the long run.

The all-Republican Town Board comprises starkly different personalities and political philosophies. A true leader would find a way to embrace those big personalities and all their ideas for the good of the people they serve. If his elected colleagues on the Town Board feel increasingly alienated, then Mr. Walter’s confident vision for Riverhead’s future could just fall apart.



11 Comment

  • It follows through that if Walter threatens the Town Board members to try to coerce them into falling in line with him, what do you think he is doing for the poor employees who work for the Town? Ask almost anyone who works there, and they can vouch for what his management style is like. How many more times do we have to listen to him open his mouth first and try to make amends afterwards? Morale is at an-all time low, and Walter has no one to blame but himself. He said at the first staff meeting he held that he would have an open door policy, and then a few months later issued a memo that he was too busy to answer our emails and we were not to email him at his town email address. This is on record. I do not know of any other Supervisor who has done that. Is he too busy trying to juggle his law firm work? I am not saying he doesn’t have a vision for the Town. What I am saying is that some time the vision alone is not enough.

  • Is Sean’s goal to ruin the town? If that’s the case, then he has reached his goal. This just confirms his style of dirty politics and intimidation, backed by the party line. The same powers that keep people like Mr. Rothaar, his Financial Administrator buddy, from losing his job. Sean is entrenched in this process, and uses his “muscle” against the other board members. Get rid of him, so our town can be a success!!! Give Wooten a chance.

  • Everyone will WIN if Sean is ousted after one term!!!!

  • Everyone will WIN if Sean is ousted after one term!!!!

  • “issued a memo that he was too busy to answer our emails and we were not to email him at his town email address.”

    I hope you’ll be willing to post the memo here as a public service, or give to the News-Review editors for publication. This taxpayer would like to know the full details.

  • Potatoes,
    Try emailing Supervisor Walter at [email protected]

    You’ll get an automated reply:

    Thank you for your message. It has been received and saved. Due to the high volume of e-mails received on a daily basis, I ask that you forward your e-mail to one of my staff members for a more immediate response. Their e-mail addresses are as follows:

    Jill Lewis, Deputy Supervisor: [email protected]
    Tara Mclaughlin, Chief of Staff: [email protected] Carol Sclafani, Legislative Secretary: [email protected]

    As always, I can be contacted in my office by phone at 631-727-3200 ext. 251

    Thank you for your understanding.

    Sean M. Walter
    Riverhead Town Supervisor

    But – he’s selective about who’s phone calls he returns.

  • Sorry, this is not a matter of “style.” Sandmine Sean and the dysfuctional Town Board continue to make reckless decisions for our Town that will cost us for decades. Worse, the bumbling Supervisor seems determined to find a way to cover-up malfeasance –consider the latest Rothaar scandal and the no-bid contracts to relatives of his campaign and office staff.

    As manifested by his decision to grant multiple extensions to Riverhead Resorts without the Town getting a dime, it seems that rather than provide meaningful leadership, Walter is more comfortable taking his marching orders from a political boss from Crookhaven

  • Does Supervisor Sean Walter really have the vision, drive and intellect to do great things for Riverhead?

    It is not about what Supervisor Walter or Councilman Wooten believe,
    it is about their respective abilities to effectively share their visions.

    Besides personality issues, how do the visions of Walter and Wooten differ?

    Do we believe in a common vision for the future of Riverhead?

    I would be more hopefull if the press focused on the visions instead of the persons.

  • True leaders have a burning desire to lead. “When desire dies, fear takes over.”

  • For a man who professes to be a religious and Christian individual, as evidenced by the weekly all-male prayer group in his Town Hall office(hmmmm, is there any gender discrimination going on here?) he certainly does not seem to be “walking the walk”. Hs behavior is a mockery of everything his religion should stand for. It makes one consider the possibility that perhaps everything else about the man is a sham also.

  • It’s called “arrogance,” “bullying,” “hubris” or perhaps something worse. His prayer group should ask for grace and forgiveness.