Alessi seeks park district investigation

Assemblyman Marc Alessi (D-Shoreham) has asked state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to investigate complaints about the operation of the Orient-East Marion Park District.

The criticism came from Jill Franke of Southold, who declined to comment about the nature of the complaints or how she came to be involved with the district. A source who declined to be identified said Ms. Franke was fighting the district because a relative of hers had his working hours cut back by the former commissioners. Former commissioner Mary Foster Morgan said all staff had to absorb a cut in hours because of a lack of money to pay workers for the originally scheduled hours.

That’s a personnel matter that the new commissioners will deal with in executive session, said commissioner Linda Goldsmith.

Some in the park district — including Mr. De Kerillis and recently appointed commissioners Ms. Goldsmith and Linton Duell — have questioned record-keeping processes and handling of the district’s finances, the legality of past park district elections and personnel issues under the previous administration.

Mr. De Kerillis was elected in December and will serve for three years. Ms. Goldsmith and Mr. Duell were appointed by the Southold Town Board until a new election is held in December.

Former commissioner Richard Keogh told The Suffolk Times earlier that the district had sometimes been run as a “mom-and-pop” operation, but that he and his colleagues did their best to handle district business effectively.

Former commissioner Stewart Horton, who resigned this year after some 20 years of service to the district, said he left because he didn’t think he would work comfortably with the other commissioners. He questioned how Mr. De Kerillis was allowed to open a park district account at Hudson City Savings and transfer in $3,000 in funds that had been held by Morgan Chase.

Mr. De Kerillis said the reason for the transfer was to track existing district funds separately from whatever money came in after he took office. He said he was unaware at the time of the prohibition against funds being held in a savings bank and promised to move them to an appropriate bank and to provide a full reconciliation of district funds.

“I want everything to be as clear as possible,” Mr. De Kerillis said. He promised regular public monthly meetings to transact park district business.

Work is under way to get Truman’s Beach ready for the summer season, he said. The commissioners decided not to open the beach to outsiders, except for guests of Orient and East Marion residents. In the past, the district has allowed some outsiders to pay for day passes to use the beach.

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