Alternate election inspector resigns after feud with candidate

03/16/2015 10:54 PM |
The Greenport Village board replaced an alternate election inspector at a special meeting Monday night. (Credit: Paul Squire)

The Greenport Village Board at Monday night’s special meeting. (Credit: Paul Squire)

The Greenport Village Board appointed three alternate election inspectors at a special meeting Monday night after another alternate resigned last month.

That resignation came after a supposed feud on social media between the alternate inspector, Harold House, and village trustee candidate William Swiskey, who had called for the board to remove Mr. House from his position.

Mr. House and Mr. Swiskey had reportedly argued on a Facebook event listing created for a candidate debate organized by local business owner Rena Wilhelm, according to screenshots forwarded to The Suffolk Times by Mr. Swiskey.

As of Monday night, the reported comments could not be found on the Facebook event listing for the March 10 debate.

The online feud stemmed from Mr. Swiskey accusing the village of improperly handling absentee ballots during the last election, according to the screenshots provided by Mr. Swiskey.

“Ya’ know Billy, one reason people don’t trust you is that you fudge the truth,” Mr. House reportedly wrote. “You’ve slandered every village official and then hide behind the ‘public figure’ defense.”

Mr. Swiskey has pointed out his outsider status through out the campaign and has stated that he would “look out for the village first.” He responded to Mr. House’s alleged Facebook post by starting an email chain with local residents, reporters and village officials decrying the comments.

“This guy is a village election inspector,” Mr. Swiskey wrote in the email. “When can I expect action to remove him? You really don’t want the state involved.” 

Village Clerk Sylvia Pirillo then said in an email to The Suffolk Times that Mr. House was “no longer willing to serve as an alternate election inspector.”

In an email a Suffolk Times reporter Tuesday, Mr. House declined to comment, saying he has “no further interest in the matter.”

In addition to the controversy over the alternate inspector’s resignation, Village Board watchdog John Saladino criticized the board after its special meeting for not opening the meeting to public comment.

Mr. Saladino — who didn’t ask to speak at the meeting — told a reporter he didn’t bother asking because he didn’t want to be thrown out of a Village Board meeting again.

The Greenport Village election will be held at the Greenport firehouse on Wednesday. Polls will remain open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with a comment from Mr. House.

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