The Southold Town Board approved reappointing Republican Dave Bergen to the Board of Trustees, but the decision was not unanimous. During Tuesday night’s regular meeting, Town Board members voted 4-2 in favor of having Mr. Bergen fill a vacant Trustees seat, with council members Jim Dinizo and Jill Doherty, a former trustee, in opposition.
Supervisor Scott Russell gave a “reluctant yes” vote
“We needed to come to a consensus on a name and that’s what we did tonight,” Mr. Russell said.
Mr. Bergen will carry out the unexpired term of Republican Bob Ghosio, who won his bid for Town Board in November and was sworn in in January.
Mr. Bergen had served as a trustee for eight years, but the Southold GOP did not nominate him for re-election last year . At that time, Republican Committee chairman Peter McGreevy said that although the incumbent had “a very successful eight years in office,” the committee decided “it was time to go in a different direction.”
Following Tuesday’s vote, Mr. McGreevy said he respects the Town Board’s decision.
“I know that Dave Bergen will bring experience, continuity and a renewed sense of purpose to the office,” he said.
In November, after Mr. Ghosio won the Town Board seat,Town Board members said they would consider candidates who had previously sought office — namely Democrat Geoffrey Wells, who had lost by a small margin on Election Day 2013 — as well as people with interest and qualifications who have never entered the political arena.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Southold Democratic chairman Art Tillman said the Town Board “stacked the deck” against his party and that the Republican committee played large part in the re-appointment of Mr. Bergen.
“In affect you are scaring away some very capable candidate because they don’t think the Republican Screening Committee would recommend them to you,” Mr. Tillman said. “I have no issue with [the candidate].It is the process by which they are being appointed.”
“You would be naive to think the Republican Party didn’t play a role,” Mr. Russell said. “They certainly have a say.”
Mr. Russell added that many names had been considered for the position and that Democratic Congressmen Tim Bishop had contacted the town to voice his support for Mr. Bergen’s appointment.
Republican Trustee Jim King was pleased the board chose experience over party scuffling.
“I’m happy to see him come back,” said Mr. King, who had voiced concern with the Town Board’s pace of selecting a fifth Trustee earlier this month. “Dave has been [on the board] for a while,” he said. “He knows what he is talking about.”
Following the meeting Mr. Bergen, who was not present, said he was “pleased to once again be a member of the Trustee team.
“I wish to thank all of the individuals who supported my appointment,” he said. “I look forward to working with the Trustees in our efforts to serve the residents of Southold Town.”
Mr. Bergen is not guaranteed a spot on the board after 2014. A special election for the final year of the term will be held this November.