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Town Trustees to Have Staggered Four-Year Terms

Thu, 08/05/2021 - 12:12
East Hampton Town Trustees Ben Dollinger, Tim Garneau, and Francis Bock
Christopher Walsh

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday signed into law a bill that will stagger the terms of office for the nine members of the East Hampton Town Trustees and increase the trustees' terms from two to four years.  

In 2023, the five candidates receiving the most votes will serve a four-year term and the remaining four successful candidates will serve a two-year term. Thereafter, elections will continue on a biennial basis, but with fewer candidates up for re-election and all elected trustees serving a four-year term. 

"I'm so excited," Susan McGraw Keber, who served on a committee to see the proposal through the legislative process with her colleagues Jim Grimes and Bill Taylor, wrote in an email on Tuesday. "It was wonderful to be part of this important action as a trustee. We've promised it and produced!" 

Several trustees have complained during the current board's term about the instability and lack of continuity resulting from two-year terms and the cumbersome nature of an election campaign that typically includes 18 candidates vying for the nine seats. They debated changing the term length to four or even six years before settling on the plan for staggered, four-year terms. Francis Bock, the trustees' clerk, said upon his re-election in 2019 that introducing staggered terms would be a priority. 

The bill passed in both the Assembly and Senate in June. Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. co-sponsored the bill in the Assembly, and Senator Anthony Palumbo was its sponsor in the Senate. 

The town board had unanimously passed a resolution in support of the home rule request during a special meeting in May.

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