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Competitive Races at the Top of Southampton Town Ballot

Thu, 11/02/2023 - 07:49

Competitive races for board, supervisor, justice

The race for Southampton Town Supervisor pits Cynthia McNamara, left, against Maria Moore, right.

With Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman facing a term limit this year, two current trustees seeking a seat on the town board, and newcomers stepping up to challenge incumbents in multiple roles, Election Day in Southampton is shaping up to be a competitive one.

To succeed Mr. Schneiderman, the candidates are Maria Moore, a Democrat and the mayor of the Village of Westhampton Beach, and Cynthia (Cyndi) McNamara, a Republican who is a sitting Southampton Town councilwoman.

Meanwhile, two trustees, Bill Pell, a Democrat, and William (Bill) Parash, a Republican, are hoping to be elected to the town board, incumbent Republican Councilman Richard (Rick) Martel is seeking re-election, and Michael Iasilli, a Democrat and a legislative aide to Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming, is running for office for the first time.

The following is a rundown of the supervisor, town board, and town justice candidates; those seeking the offices of trustee and tax receiver are profiled online at easthamptonstar.com.

For Town Supervisor

Ms. Moore has been mayor of Westhampton Beach for nine years, while Ms. McNamara was the top vote-getter in the 2021 Southampton Town Board race.

Ms. McNamara is a lifelong town resident, recalling, on her website, swimming lessons at Tiana Beach, bowling at the Polish Hall, and busing tables at Shippy’s restaurant. She has lived with her husband, Dan, and two daughters in East Quogue since 2007. She has been a member of the East Quogue School Board, the founder of Concerned Citizens of East Quogue, a member and chairwoman of the hamlet’s citizens advisory committee in 2018, and a member of the East Quogue Village Exploratory Committee, which weighed the possibility of incorporation as a village.

Her run for town board in 2021 was “years in the making,” Ms. McNamara said on her website. Now seeking the supervisor’s seat, “I not only want our girls to be able to afford to live here, I also want this to remain a place where they would want to live.” East Quogue “currently has no representation on the town board,” she said. “We need a town board that truly listens to residents from all areas of the town and acts in a timely manner to address concerns.”

Ms. McNamara’s challenger, Ms. Moore, said on her website that she has “a talent for working with everyone and a unique ability to close all divides and bring people together in a common purpose to achieve uncommon results.” Before she took office in 2014, she was an attorney in private practice.

During her time as mayor, Ms. Moore said, she ushered a major slate of infrastructure upgrades, including the replacement of a 100-year-old drainage system that was completed on time and without increased taxes, owing to town and county grants that she said she helped secure. She also touts a town tax rate that she says is lower now than it was when she was first elected.

The village she oversees is a place “where businesses thrive, and visitors and residents alike can enjoy the benefits of a vibrant seaside resort that has become a year-round destination,” she said on her website. “This is a perfect example of what can be accomplished when local governments work together towards a common goal,” she added later.

For Town Board

Four candidates are seeking two seats on the town board: Mr. Pell, Mr. Iasilli, Mr. Parash, and Mr. Martel. One current member, John Bouvier, a Democrat, is retiring.

Mr. Pell, a Democrat, was first elected a trustee in 2009. Professionally, he has owned and operated a geese removal company since 2013; he has also had an oyster farming business, a marina, and operated a commercial dragger. He is a member of the Southampton Fire Department and the Southampton Rotary, and volunteers with a local food pantry.

Mr. Pell, who lives in North Sea, said his strength is “listening to people and helping solve their problems. . . . I’m here to help make Southampton a better place to live.”

Mr. Martel, a Republican who lives in Hampton Bays, is the only incumbent in the race. His record of volunteer work includes local Little League teams, scholarship committees, and food pantries; the Southampton Kiwanis Club; the San Gennaro Feast of the Hamptons; the Chamber of Commerce, and others over his more than four decades living here.

On his website, Mr. Martel said he has “a willingness to put eyes on issues and speak directly with constituents.” Keeping Southampton “a beautiful and viable place for our young people to be raised” motivates him.

Mr. Parash, a sitting trustee since 2021, is a third-generation Southampton resident whose family has owned the Sip ’n Soda luncheonette in Southampton Village since 1958. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and political science and a law degree as well, and litigated insurance cases for 30 years. A Republican, he lives on North Haven.

On his website, Mr. Parash said his “leadership, experience, and desire to give back” make him “the ideal candidate for the town board.”

Before joining Ms. Fleming’s team, Mr. Iasilli, a Democrat, worked for the Brookhaven town clerk’s office, the town call center, and the Disability Task Force. Now a resident of Noyac, he touts a record of “connecting people to resources” and “working with both Republicans and Democrats, which is really important.” He said he wants to tackle zoning and development issues, improve water quality, and explore creating council districts to make sure each part of the town has representation.

“I’m an advocate for everyday, ordinary people who are struggling,” Mr. Iasilli said.

For Town Justice

Gary Weber, the Republican candidate, is an incumbent judge who has experience on both sides of the dais. His challenger is John Ortiz, a Democrat who also has practiced in both the public and private sectors.

Mr. Ortiz says on his website that he “is well versed in a broad spectrum of legal issues that may come before him” and that he has “demonstrated community spirit and proven ability.” As an assistant and deputy district attorney, he worked on consumer protection and white-collar crimes such as money laundering, racketeering, and fraud. In his private practice, he took on cases involving personal injury, construction, medical malpractice, and labor issues.

Justice Weber worked his way up in the Suffolk County district attorney’s office to become its East End Bureau chief. In 1992, he was elected justice on the Suffolk County Court, cross-endorsed at the time by the Republican, Democratic, and Conservative parties.

“Being a good judge is more than just knowing the law,” Justice Weber said in an email to The Star. “It is following the law with courtesy and fairness to all parties involved and realizing the impact your decisions will have on the community that you serve.”


The online version of this story contained an error that did not appear in the print edition concerning the ownership of the Sip 'n Soda luncheonette. It has since been corrected.

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