With two of their three new members present, the East Hampton Town Trustees met for the first time in 2020 on Monday, and voted unanimously to reappoint several officers and staff.
Francis Bock, the body’s longtime clerk (presiding officer), will continue in the job, as will Bill Taylor and Jim Grimes as deputy clerks. “Thank you, everybody,” Mr. Bock said as his colleagues both congratulated him and wished him a happy birthday. “I appreciate your support.”
The trustees also reappointed Christopher Carillo as their counsel, Arlene Tesar as secretary, and Lori Miller-Carr as part-time secretary. Ms. Miller-Carr, their former full-time secretary, is “transitioning out,” Mr. Bock said, and will train Alyson Follenius, a second part-time secretary, who was hired on Monday. The trustees also reappointed The Star as their official newspaper.
Mike Martinsen and Tim Garneau, who were elected in November, joined their new colleagues in reading the trustees’ annual resolutions, most of which pertain to fee schedules for mooring, fish traps, duck blinds, dredge material, kayak storage, fences, and other shoreline and waterway matters under their jurisdiction, such as leases at trustee-owned land at Lazy Point in Amagansett. Ben Dollinger, who was also elected in November, did not attend the meeting. The three succeed Dell Cullum and Bryan Byrnes, who did not seek re-election, and Susan Vorpahl, who was defeated after one term.
Eight of the nine trustees are Democrats, and the ninth, Mr. Grimes, won the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee’s endorsement.
Little else was decided at the organizational meeting, but the trustees discussed the water quality testing for which they have engaged Christopher Gobler of Stony Brook Southampton’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences for the last several years. As the body has sharpened its focus on ecologically degraded waterways and mitigation efforts, more of its resources have been devoted to them. Between water quality, legal fees, and other projects, “This past year we did spend a little more than we took in,” said Rick Drew. “We need to be mindful going forward as we deliberate on new projects.”
The trustees agreed to meet with other groups that conduct water quality testing, including the State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Suffolk County Health Department, the Surfrider Foundation’s Eastern Long Island chapter, and Concerned Citizens of Montauk, in an effort to eliminate redundancy. “We want to get a handle on all testing being done and coordinate it so there’s no duplication of effort,” Mr. Taylor said after the meeting. “I think we can make the effort more effective by coordinating and becoming a conduit for the information.”
Cost savings realized by eliminating that redundancy could be allocated to microbial source tracking of fecal bacteria, the trustees said, by which the source of water contamination can be pinpointed. Such an effort in 2018 found that birds, dogs, and other small mammals, and not humans, were the dominant source of such contamination in Three Mile Harbor and Georgica Pond.
The trustees will meet with Dr. Gobler later this month. He will deliver a report on his water quality research last year at their March 9 meeting.
Members also discussed adding $10,000 to their William T. Rysam Fund, which provides a scholarship for graduating high school students each year. “We’re spending more than we’re making on interest,” Mr. Grimes said. The trustees at present award $500 to one student and $250 to another; last year, the fund generated $400 in interest, Ms. Tesar said.
Adding to the principal, said Mr. Grimes, would enable the fund to sustain itself. The trustees previously decided that proceeds from sales of the “balloon fish” T-shirt designed by Susan McGraw Keber would be allocated to the fund, as would a portion of proceeds from the sale of sand dredged from harbors under trustee jurisdiction.