Editorial: What will the new village administration do now?

At the end of the movie “The Candidate,” Robert Redford, who plays a non-politician who runs for the U.S. Senate in California, turns to his political consultant, played by Peter Boyle.

Redford’s character, Bill McKay, has just won the Senate seat. Now he has to figure out a way to carry out the many campaign promises he fed to the voters.

“So what do we do now?” he asks the consultant.

That question should be on the minds of the winners of the mayor’s and two trustee races in the Village of Greenport. The election, which was a spectacle for the past few weeks, wrapped up Tuesday evening, with Kevin Stuessi elected mayor, and Patrick Brennan and Lily Dougherty-Johnson winning the two open trustee seats. 

So, we will ask them: What are you going to do now?

Greenport has had acrimonious elections in the past. Go back to the days when the village voted to get rid of its police department and you will see some pretty ugly stuff bandied about. 

But this race feels more consequential in terms of the village’s future. Much is hanging in the balance. What will Greenport be going forward? What will it look like? 

More importantly, what does Greenport aspire to be?

The future of the village’s waterfront is among the most critical issues facing the village, and the new administration must face it head on. It’s a good guess to say the village’s future will be decided in the coming months.

The campaign got off to a bad start, which suggested to some that something underhanded was at play. Seven candidates were informed that they would not be on the ballot because they missed a deadline they didn’t know existed.

A judge fixed that problem, but bad feelings towards Village Hall persisted. The new administration will have to examine what happened, deal with it, and make sure nothing like that happens again. Beyond that issue was the introduction into this election cycle of what political people refer to as “opposition research” on some of the candidates. The dissemination of this material spoke volumes about the kind of campaign underway in a one-square-mile village, where past elections brought out maybe 400 to 500 voters. 491 total votes were cast Tuesday.

Our hope is that future races across the North Fork will be fully transparent. 

The winners in Greenport will be sworn in next month, and they need to immediately begin to put this election behind them and focus on the village’s future.

The fall elections in Riverhead and Southold must also pass the transparency test.