After his fellow legislators rebuffed an effort last year to hold more meetings on the East End, Legislator Al Krupski, with the assistance of recently sworn-in Legislator Bridget Fleming, successfully negotiated to hold two committee meetings in Riverhead Town, his office announced Tuesday.
The meetings will be held at the Riverhead Legislative Auditorium in the Evans K. Griffing building in Riverside.
Mr. Krupski’s original motion in late April — a move he hoped could boost participation in local government on the East End — was deadlocked at 9-9 and failed without a majority.
“This is something that I think is really important for people to have access to government,” Mr. Krupski said. “At least it gives people on the East End, and also the people just west of Riverhead, an opportunity to be able to come to a committee meeting.”
Legislative committee meetings were previously all held in Hauppauge. At Monday’s organizational meeting in Hauppauge, the Legislative adopted the Rules of Legislature for 2016, which grants presiding officer DuWayne Gregory the authority to schedule two cycles of committee meetings in Riverhead, according to a press release.
Mr. Krupski said the meetings present a chance for the public to raise concerns from minor issues such as road work to larger topics such as water quality.
“It’s a much more informal setting that people can ask questions,” he said.
When the motion failed last year, nearly all the legislators who voted against it represented districts in the western end of the county. There are 18 total districts.
Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter and Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell both backed Mr. Krupski’s original motion.
Those who voted against it cited several reasons, from the inconvenience of moving staff to the cost of added mileage.
Mr. Krupski said people have started to realize how difficult it is for East End residents to travel to Hauppauge.
“If you’re going to take that much time out of your day, it’s difficult,” he said. “People work, so you need to make it as easy as possible.”
Ms. Fleming said in a statement that “government works best when the folks who elected us can keep an eye on government and this rule change means that the East End community can provide meaningful input and oversight.”
The full 2016 calendar, including committee dates and venues, is expected to be posted on the Legislature’s website within the next two weeks.
Photo Caption: Legislators Al Krupski and Bridget Fleming (Courtesy photo).