The swearing-in ceremonies at Southold Town Hall Thursday included the longest-tenured supervisor in town history and the first Democrat elected to the Town Board in a decade.
Supervisor Scott Russell, who was sworn into his fifth term in office, welcomed elected officials and their families to the standing-room only ceremony led by Suffolk County Judge James Hudson.
As she was sworn in, Sarah Nappa became the first Democrat in nearly a decade to join the Town Board.
“I’m excited to get to work,” she said Thursday.
Incumbent councilwoman Jill Doherty, who was appointed to serve as Mr. Russell’s deputy supervisor, also took her oath of office.
“[Ms. Doherty] is very knowledgeable,” Mr. Russell said in an interview after the ceremony. “She brings a great deal of experience to the table not just as a town board member but as a former trustee.”
The inaugural ceremony welcomed two more newcomers: Democratic Southold Justice Dan Ross and Republican Tax Receiver Kelly Fogarty. Incumbent assessor Rich Caggiano and trustees Glenn Goldsmith and Nick Krupski were also sworn in.
Russell Ackroyd of the North Fork United Methodist Church offered words of prayer for the elected officials, calling for them to encourage one another and work together despite today’s political climate.
Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) and Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) also attended the ceremony.
In his remarks, Mr. Russell welcomed Ms. Nappa to the board. “I believe we have a lot in common and I’m looking forward to working with her,” he said. “I think we’re going to get a lot done together.”
At a reorganizational meeting held ahead of the swearing in, Ms. Nappa was appointed as liaison to several committees, including deer management, helicopter noise and transportation. Though she had sought to serve as liaison on the agricultural advisory committee, Mr. Russell said for the time being, he would take on the role previously held by Bill Ruland. “There are ongoing issues that we want to keep the ball moving on,” he said, but noted that Ms. Nappa — and any board members — are welcome to attend any committee meetings.
The supervisor also gave a nod to allow Ms. Nappa to resurrect the water advisory committee by appointing her as liaison. “[The WAC] had fizzled out, so I’m excited to get that going again and finding some good people to work on that,” she said, adding that she’d get involved with the agricultural advisory committee. “They have important work to do as well and I’d love to assist them with my experience,” she said.
Several board members will also take on new committees this year, including Bob Ghosio on the economic development committee and Jill Doherty on the Housing Advisory Commission.
In his closing remarks, the supervisor described the seven others sworn into office Thursday as “great people that are going to dedicate themselves,” to the town, regardless of political party. “Southold town isn’t about politics. It’s putting that outside the door when you come in and working together, working in collaboration on behalf of all the residents,” he said.
Following November’s election, Mr. Russell indicated that his fifth term in office would be his last. After Thursday’s ceremony, he confirmed that he will not seek a sixth term. “Sooner or later, there’s going to be a need for new perspectives and new leadership,” Mr. Russell said. “I feel I have some more to contribute, but ultimately the position needs to be left in new and capable hands.”