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Supervisor-Elect Lays Out the Transition

Thu, 11/16/2023 - 11:26
Kathee Burke-Gonzalez a her office in Town Hall earlier this year
Durell Godfrey

East Hampton Town Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, the apparent supervisor-elect based on the Suffolk County Board of Elections’ unofficial results of the Nov. 7 election, announced an initial transition plan for 2024 on Monday.

Ms. Burke-Gonzalez, the deputy supervisor, won election by a 2-to-1 margin, according to the unofficial count, as did her running mates, Councilman David Lys and Tom Flight. All three ran on the Democratic and Working Families Party lines. Should the Board of Elections’ unofficial count stand, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez, Mr. Lys, and Mr. Flight will be sworn in at the town board’s organizational meeting on Jan. 2.

Meetings with fellow council members-elect have begun and will continue through December, according to an announcement Ms. Burke-Gonzalez issued on Monday. “It is our goal to hit the ground running once we are sworn in,” she wrote. “The new administration will establish a shared list of priorities and a comprehensive to-do list so we can make as much progress as possible in a short amount of time, knowing that things never seem to move fast enough in government.”

According to the statement, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez “will reveal the incoming town board’s vision” in a State of the Town message at the organizational meeting and in the weeks to follow. She stressed the importance of identifying residents to serve on appointed boards, citizens committees, and the open seat on the town board, her election to supervisor having created a vacancy.

“The engagement of town residents and stakeholders is critical to open, responsive government,” she said. “We need qualified and dedicated people to fill numerous positions and we encourage all those who are interested to reach out and let us know.”

The incoming board will seek to fill several positions in 2024. Along with the imminent vacant seat on the town board, they include seats on appointed bodies such as the planning board, the zoning board of appeals, and the architectural review board, where a term is set to expire; hamlet-specific citizens advisory committees, and special-issue committees such as the Anti-Bias Task Force, the disabilities advisory board, the nature preserve committee, and the energy sustainability committee. A complete list of boards and committees is online at bit.ly/3G0Oy1u.

Applicants have been asked to email [email protected] by Dec. 1, and include a résumé and a personal statement describing their interest in serving the town.

“We understand that we have been charged with the protection of our community and sense of place by continuing to create affordable housing opportunities, updating the zoning code, working with service providers to fill wireless coverage gaps, protecting water quality, building coastal resilience, improving townwide communications, and supporting our children and our seniors,” Ms. Burke-Gonzalez said.

Should the unofficial results stand, she and Mr. Flight will succeed Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc and Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, both of whom announced early this year that they would not seek re-election. They will be joined by Mr. Lys, Councilwoman Cate Rogers, who was not up for re-election, and a council member to be appointed to complete Ms. Burke-Gonzalez’s term on the board.

Mr. Van Scoyoc congratulated Ms. Burke-Gonzalez and Mr. Lys during the town board’s meeting on Tuesday. “Anyone who steps up to serve their community as an elected official sacrifices a great deal in doing so, and they have to have a commitment, a real purpose in doing so,” he said. “For all those who ran for elected office, thank you. That’s what makes our democracy work. I’m very pleased with the outcome and I think there will be an extremely smooth transition and continuance of all the good work that we’ve been trying to accomplish on the town board.”

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