It was a changing of the guard for the Southold Town Trustees at the town’s annual reorganizational meeting Tuesday morning.
Former Trustee president Jill Doherty was sworn in as town councilwoman and Mike Domino, an active member of the North Fork Environmental Council and retired science teacher, was appointed to fill the Town Trustee seat left vacant by Ms. Doherty.
The Town Board initially adopted a resolution appointing Jim King as president of the Trustees, but Mr. King said he was confused because the Trustees usually appoint their own president.
“This is a first for me. I don’t think this has ever been done before,” he said.
“It is,” said Councilman Al Krupski. “But congratulations either way.”
Justice Louisa Evans made a motion to withdraw Mr. King’s appointment as president so that the Trustees could appoint him themselves.
“Why did I open my big mouth?” said Mr. King, who is known for not being particularly talkative.
Mr. King said later that he was very happy and should be singing the tune “Back in the Saddle Again.” He had served as Trustee president in the past, when former Trustee president Al Krupski was elected to the Town Board.
Mr. King said his approach to leading the Trustee organization will be “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”[nggallery id=263 template=galleryview]
Mr. Domino, who was not at the meeting, learned of his appointment Tuesday afternoon. He taught earth science and environmental science in the Rocky Point school district for 31 years and runs a deli and antique store in Greenport.
“I think the Trustees have done a terrific job. I want to work with them to continue to do the best I can for Southold Town,” he said.
He said he sees public access to the beaches and improving water quality in some of the town’s creeks as his top priorities.
“I’ve been involved in the environment since the first Earth Day,” Mr. Domino said. “I see this as a continuance of my life work.
… I have a pretty extensive science and educational background and I understand business and property rights issues. I hope to continue what I think is a common sense approach to the environment.”
In another shake-up at Town Hall, Councilman Krupski was appointed deputy supervisor, replacing Phillip Beltz.
Mr. Russell said Mr. Beltz will keep his office, near the supervisor’s, and that he will continue to work closely with Mr. Beltz in his capacity as special projects coordinator for the town. The supervisor said the change was made because Mr. Beltz is not an elected official and thus could not prepare agendas for or vote at Town Board meetings if he had to serve in Mr. Russell’s stead, while Mr. Krupski can assume those tasks in Mr. Russell’s absence.
“Phillip Beltz has been an excellent deputy supervisor. He’ll continue to serve as the executive assistant of every member of the Town Board,” said Mr. Russell. “It’s difficult to have a non-voting person serve as deputy.”
Planning Board member Donald Wilcenski was also named chairman of that board, replacing Martin Sidor, who remains a member. Mr. Russell said Mr. Sidor has done an excellent job, but the chairmanship is very strenuous for someone who works full-time. He said the position also tends to rotate among board members.