07/11/13 6:00am
07/11/2013 6:00 AM
TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | Republican Town Justice William Price addressing Southold’s Democrats, including party Chairman Art Tillman (left) and Deputy Chairman Bob Meguin.

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | Republican Town Justice William Price addressing Southold’s Democrats, including party Chairman Art Tillman (left) and Deputy Chairman Bob Meguin.

To the editor:

This is in regard to Grant Parpan’s recent column on the June Southold Democratic Committee meeting.

Our Meet-the-Candidates meeting was open to all, as are most of our meetings. We welcome the public and press. Open discussion makes a difference, as our candidate Judge Bill Price noted after attending one recently.

I ask Mr. Parpan and more senior staffers of The Suffolk Times how many Republican committee meetings have they been invited to recently or over the years?

A comment I made at the last meeting and not reported reflects the feelings of many: Southold Town government is not a club, nor is it the extension of a country club and as Lincoln said, “It is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.” Government belongs to all of us.

This year’s Democratic candidates represent the wide age, occupational and life experiences of those living here. Young people, seniors, natives and newcomers all are welcome and all are encouraged to participate.

Balance does make a difference.

Art Tillman, chairman, Southold Democratic Committee

05/29/13 2:39pm
05/29/2013 2:39 PM

TIM KELLY PHOTO | Southold Highway Superintendent Pete Harris.

Highway Superintendent Pete Harris, who became the only elected Democrat in town government after former councilman Al Krupski was elected to the Suffolk County Legislature earlier this year, shocked his party Wednesday morning by announcing he won’t seek re-election.

Mr. Harris’ decision came just hours before the party’s scheduled nominating convention Wednesday evening.

“It’s time,” said Mr. Harris, 60. “It was a very difficult decision, but at the end of the day it was the right decision for me and my family.”

Mr. Harris is in his 12th year as head of the highway department. During the previous 24 years he was the state Department of Transportation’s highway maintenance supervisor responsible for Southold and Shelter Island towns. He started as a laborer, a job he held for three years.

Although he ran unopposed four years ago, Mr. Harris would have faced Republican Vincent Orlando, a former town councilman, in the fall.

Southold Democratic leader Art Tillman said he’s sorry to see Mr. Harris go.

“He ran a good department under a lot of budgetary constraints,” he said. “He’s a good man.”

Mr. Harris says his crews more than rose to the challenge, especially during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, Hurricane Sandy last fall and this past winter’s blizzard.

“I’m very proud of the job I’ve done,” he said. “I only hope whoever follows in my footsteps can do as good a job as my staff and I have done in the last 12 years.”

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