Featured Story

FRNCA hosts candidates’ night for Southampton contenders

Candidates running for Southampton supervisor and town council squared off at Monday’s meeting of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association.

Although those three communities are geographically located within Southampton Town, they are part of both the Riverhead School District and Riverhead Library District, and have Riverhead ZIP codes.

The supervisor’s race pits incumbent Jay Schneiderman of Southampton on the Democratic line against Republican challenger Ray Overton of Westhampton Beach.

In the race for two council seats, the Democrats are running incumbent Julie Lofstad of Hampton Bays and challenger Tommy John Schiavoni of Sag Harbor, while the Republicans are running incumbent Stan Glinka of Hampton Bays and challenger Thea Dombrowski-Fry of Hampton Bays.

“You know me, and you know that I fight for this community,” Mr. Schneiderman told the audience. He cited projects he was involved in as a county legislator, before becoming supervisor, such as moving the Big Duck back to Flanders, fighting to get a homeless sex offender trailer removed from the county jail parking lot and restoring funding for the Riverside traffic circle expansion project.

As supervisor, Mr. Schneiderman said his current proposed budget will bring the town its second consecutive tax cut, about 3 percent overall. During his administration, he said, he’s also reduced town debt by $12 million, achieved a AAA bond rating and helped preserve about 400 acres of open space and farmland during his administration.

Mr. Schneiderman, a former science and math teacher who also owns a motel in Montauk, served as East Hampton Town supervisor from 2000 to 2003, South Fork county legislator from 2004 to 2015, and Southampton Town supervisor from 2016 to the present. He was elected in East Hampton on the Republican line, in Southampton on the Democratic line and is now registered with the Independence Party.

Mr. Overton, currently general manager of Mulco Inc., a plumbing and HVAC company, is a former Southampton Town trustee and a former director of operations for the Ross School in East Hampton.

“I’ve spent my life in business management,” Mr. Overton said. “I’ve worked for various companies, whether they be in the construction industry, resort management or real estate manager, on a day-to-day basis. I get a load of problems put on my desk and the job is to come up with resolutions to those problems.”

Of Flanders, Riverside and Northampton, Mr. Overton said, “This was a vibrant community and it can come back that way.”

Recalling a meeting two years ago on a proposed Riverside revitalization project, he said, “I have never seen such a diverse group of people so united in one idea, and that’s to get Flanders, Riverside and Northampton to be a vibrant, safe, successful community again.”

Among the council candidates, Mr. Glinka, who was elected in 2013, cited his experience as a vice president at Bridgehampton National Bank.

“I’ve been able to bring my experience from 24 years in banking to the town,” he said. “One of things I have prided myself on since I’ve been in office is embedding myself in the community and in the departments that affect our community.”

Mr. Glinka said he has done numerous ride-alongs with town police, often in the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton areas, to get a better knowledge of issues there. He’s also ridden along with code enforcement, he said.

Ms. Lofstad worked for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for 15 years, first in aeronautical services, where she designed runway and taxiway lighting systems, and then as grant manager for the Aviation Technical Services Division. After Sept. 11, she decided to help her husband run his commercial fishing business in Hampton Bays

“That’s when I became a community advocate,” she said. “I worked on building playgrounds, I worked on sex offender legislation, I’ve also worked with local families, trying to help families in need.”

She co-founded a nonprofit called the Hampton Bays Mothers’ Association, she said.

Ms. Lofstad was elected in January 2016 to fill a vacancy on the Town Board. She cited a new director of public safety, a new director of housing and affordable housing projects in Speonk and Tuckahoe among her accomplishments as a Town Board member.

Running with Mr. Glinka is Ms. Dombrowski-Fry, who was born and raised in Water Mill and now lives in Hampton Bays. She said she has been a teacher’s assistant in Southampton public schools since 1994 and was previously a Southampton Village police officer from 1989 to 1994.

“The people need a voice, and I want the privilege and the honor of being your voice,” she said.

Ms. Lofstad’s running mate  is Mr. Schiavoni, a teacher for 32 years who currently works in the Center Moriches School District. He has served on the Sag Harbor Board of Education and Southampton Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals and is a former North Haven Village trustee.

“I have served as an elected official and on appointed boards,” Mr. Schiavoni said, adding, “It’s a huge responsibility and I’ve learned a lot.”

He said there are issues in Flanders, Riverside and Northampton that the Town Board can help with, but he added, “We can do better.”

[email protected]

Photo credit: Tim Gannon