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Committee Conflict

Thu, 08/24/2023 - 11:04


Looking through the official East Hampton Village website recently, one of our reporters noticed something strange about a committee created to review a proposed sewage system in the historic district. No surprise, Mayor Jerry Larsen made himself its chairman and appointed five subordinates — all village employees whose lives he could make miserable if they crossed him. But the sixth and final member of the group is the owner of a company that specializes in municipal wastewater systems that is expected to be among the bidders on an eventual contract.

The composition of the sewer committee is in stark contrast to several other groups appointed to advise the village trustees. The business committee, for example, has two trustees sharing the chairmanship, Carrie Doyle and Sarah Amaden, but then is otherwise entirely made up of people outside of village government. The historic preservation committee consists of five members, none of them holding current roles in Village Hall.

Massachusetts-based Lombardo Associates, whose owner, Pio Lombardo, is on the sewer committee, has already received money in the form of at least one consulting contract. As such, he is hardly a disinterested player. Mr. Lombardo is also involved in East Hampton Town’s effort on a wastewater system for parts of Montauk.

To be taken seriously on planning for a costly central sewage project, the village must expand the membership of the committee overseeing it.

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