Swiskey running again for Greenport board seat

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | William Swiskey outside Greenport Village Hall Monday.
A familiar name in Greenport will be on the ballot in this year’s village trustee elections. Former trustee and utilities director William Swiskey turned in his petitions Friday to run for one of two seats to be decided in the March 19 village elections.

Trustee Mary Bess Phillips has said she will seek reelection while Trustee Chris Kempner announced last fall that she’ll step down when her term ends this spring. Ms. Kempner said her decision was prompted by the pressures of having two young children at home and working full time as Riverhead Town’s community development director.

Potential candidates must file nominating petitions with the village clerk’s office by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13. The state set deadline was originally Feb. 12 before state officials realized that’s Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, a state holiday, said Village Clerk Sylvia Pirillo.

By Monday Mr. Swiskey was the only candidate who had yet filed petition, Ms. Pirillo said. Ms. Phillips confirmed two weeks ago that she intends to run again.

After serving as the village utilities director for more than a decade, Mr. Swiskey was elected in 2008 to fill the remaining term of the late trustee George Hubbard, Sr. He lost the seat in 2009 and ran another unsuccessful campaign in 2011.

“I don’t think people in the village have been given a fair shake or a voice,” Mr. Swiskey said. He argues that the village has devoted too much of its energy in recent years to Mitchell Park and the downtown business district, while giving short shrift to residential neighborhoods and outlying parks.

“Look at the condition of some of the side streets,” he said. “They’re just ignoring them.”

He also charges that the village, especially the utilities department, is out of touch with residents.

“If you call to complain about your light bill, no one calls back,” he said. “People have forgotten that government works for the people.”

Village residents can register to vote at Village Hall on March 7 from 8:30 to 5 and on March 9 from 11 to 5.
Polls will be open March 19 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Third Street firehouse.