Town Supervisor Russell announces bid for re-election

Scott Russell responds to questions following his State of the Town address earlier this month. (Credit: Grant Parpan, file)
Scott Russell responds to questions following his State of the Town address earlier this month. (Credit: Grant Parpan, file)

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said Tuesday he is seeking a fourth term in office, stating that he would bring “purpose, vision and vitality” to the Town Board if elected in November.

The supervisor, who in recent months has been non-committal when asked if he’d run for a new four-year term, announced his intentions in an emailed statement.

“The decision to seek re-election has not been an easy one,” Mr. Russell stated.  “I am confident that I can and will bring purpose, vision and vitality and therefore I am seeking the nomination to continue to serve as Southold Town Supervisor. I will ask the people of Southold to continue to put their faith in me and to continue to offer me guidance as I strive to do the best that I can on behalf of this town.

“I have thought long and hard to assess if I could continue to serve as supervisor with the vigor and sense of purpose that I brought to the position every day since January 1, 2006,” the statement reads. “To be sure, there have been successes and there have been setbacks. We continue to try to build on those successes and continue to try to learn from those setbacks. I am fortunate to work with employees who put their best foot forward each and every day and work tirelessly to serve the people of this town.”

Mr. Russell has experienced personal setbacks in his two most recent terms in office.  He took a leave of absence following a domestic disturbance at his home in May 2011. He also dealt with domestic issues in 2014 and was criticized after he fell asleep at a Town Board meeting in October.

But in an email Tuesday, Mr. Russell noted several highlights of his most recent term, including  purchases of farmland development rights and environmentally fragile parcels, maintaining a strong credit rating and guiding the town through several major storm events.

Mr. Russell — who won his first two bids for re-election in landslides in 2007 and 2011 — initially defeated Democratic candidate Bill Edwards in 2005 to succeed Josh Horton as town supervisor.

Town GOP chairman Peter McGreevy  said the committee “has full faith and support in Scott Russell,” but no official decision on which candidates to back will be made until April.

There are eight town seats, all controlled by Republicans, up for grabs in the Nov. 3 election. On the Town Board, incumbent councilmembers Jill Doherty and Bill Ruland are up for re-election.

Incumbent Trustees Jim King and Dave Bergen are also up for re-election.

The terms of tax receiver George Sullivan, assessor Rich Caggiano and Justice Rudolph Bruer are also expiring in 2015. All have previously run on the Southold GOP ticket.

Mr. McGreevy said the committee is in the process of confirming who wants to run for re-election before deciding if it will screen other possible candidates. He said Tuesday afternoon that he is still awaiting word from the other seven incumbents.

Southold Democratic Committee Chairman Art Tillman said last week that his committee has not begun the screening process, adding that supervisor hopeful Damon Rallis is the only one to formally express interested in running on the Democratic line so far.

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