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Greenport Village fills Planning Board seat, suspends code committee

04/08/2016 3:40 PM |

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Planning Board gets new member

The Greenport Village Board appointed Greenport resident Lucy Clarke to the Planning Board, restocking the board which has had trouble attracting volunteers to meet during the winter months.

The vacancy was left by Pat Mundus, a member of the planning board who was unable to commit to another term, according to Greenport Mayor George Hubbard Jr.

“She’s busy enjoying herself in the Bahamas and sailing and stuff,” he said. “I want to thank her for her time.”

The open seat was officially assigned to Ms. Clarke, whose legal name is Mary Louise Given, Mr. Hubbard said. Mr. Hubbard also thanked board member Chris Dowling, who had previously agreed to stay on for an extra and eventually resigned in February.

“It was a pleasure working with them,” he added.

The Planning Board had been unable to meet since January because too few members were able to attend. The board met Thursday just before the Village Board’s reorganizational meeting and discussed an application for renovations at the Meson Ole building.

Code committee shut down

After months of meetings and little to show for it, the Greenport Village Code Committee was put on hiatus by the Village Board at its meeting Thursday evening.

Mr. Hubbard said the committee has worked hard and noted a lot of proposals had been sent to the committee to review. However the group of elected officials and volunteers has “struggled to get accomplishments out of the committee.” As a result, the committee was unanimously suspended until further notice by the Village Board.

Instead of having a code committee, the Village Board will seek feedback from the members of its planning, zoning and historic preservation boards before considering changes to village codes.

“I think we try it this way and see if it works.” Mr. Hubbard said.

Trustee tries, fails to fire Village Attorney again

At the beginning of his first year in office last spring, Trustee Doug Roberts voted against rehiring longtime Village Attorney Joseph Prokop, saying the village administration needed to change.

One year later, Mr. Roberts’ opinion hasn’t.

“I haven’t seen anything in the last year to make me change my mind,” Mr. Roberts said.

The trustee was the only member of the Village Board to vote against rehiring Mr. Prokop, who will again represent the village and advise them about legal matters at a rate of $175 per hour. Mr. Roberts said he was unhappy with what he said was Mr. Prokop exerting “political” influence over certain debates, like the decision of village trustees to use a municipal health insurance.

“I thank Joe for his service,” he said. “There have been a lot of good things done while he’s been attorney. I just think we need a different approach.”

Mr. Roberts had recently pushed for Greenport Village to seek a second opinion on whether a fee for the North Ferry would be legal, after Mr. Prokop advised against moving forward with the idea. The board ultimately voted to ask for extra free legal advice on the matter.

Mr. Roberts said his decision Thursday was not influenced by that debate.

Village Trustee Jack Martilotta had voted with Mr. Roberts last year to fire Mr. Prokop, but this year sided with the majority in keeping him on board. Both Mr. Martilotta and Mr. Hubbard said the attorney was given new guidance about his job duties.

Mr. Hubbard said Mr. Prokop had been taking a more active role on building and planning boards because the village lacks a senior building inspector and a clerk to the boards. Once those roles are hired as part of the new budget, Mr. Prokop can focus on advising the boards solely on legal liability.

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