Year in Review 2023

Year in Review 2023: Greenport elections are mired in drama

Greenport Village was filled with controversy in March, as elections that would decide the mayor and two trustee seats were mired in issues surrounding the ballot, as well as a hotly debated development moratorium in the village.

Seven of the nine declared candidates for the Greenport Village election learned in late February that their names were not on the ballot due to or failing to file required paperwork that they say they were never made aware of — until it was too late.

The seven candidates, none of whom previously served in Greenport Village elected office, accused the village clerk and the village attorney of intention- ally misleading them about the requirements to get on the ballot — and demanding the clerk’s resignation.

Mr. Vandenburgh, Kevin Stuessi and then-Mayor George Hubbard ran for mayor. Alison Tuthill, Lily Dougherty-Johnson, Monique Gohorel, Patrick Brennan, William Swiskey and Jack Martilotta ran for the two open trustee positions.

In a letter dated Feb. 14, then-Village Clerk Sylvia Pirillo informed the candidates that they had been nominated and that their “name and party shall appear on the ballot as such. Kindly note that the last day to file a certificate of declination is Feb. 17, 2023.”

However, in a subsequent letter from Town Attorney Joseph Prokop, dated Feb. 22, the seven non-incumbent candidates were informed that they “did not … comply with the requirements of Election Law Section 6-144, which required you to file a proper certificate of acceptance with the Village Clerk by Feb. 17. I am therefore writing to inform you that pursuant to State Law your name cannot appear on the ballot as a candidate for office in the 2023 election.”

A state Supreme Court judge eventually signed a stipulation between the village board and all candidates were placed on the ballot.

Key topics at the heart of the races include the existing administrative moratorium and its potential to generate litigation against the village; the timeframe in which the village’s LWRP (Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan) can be completed; how to combat illegal short-term rentals; how to raise more revenue; better enforcement of village codes and how to deal with empty storefronts and derelict properties.

Mr. Brennan and Ms. Dougherty-Johnson won the trustee seats, while Mr. Stuessi was elected mayor.

“I’m thrilled and ready to get to work and serve the community,” Mr. Stuessi said.

Originally reporting by Chris Francescani