It’s been a few weeks now since Al Krupski left a seat on the Southold Town Board to fill a seat on the Suffolk County Legislature left empty by Ed Romaine, who is now supervisor of Brookhaven Town.
And with applications coming in to the Town Board from both parties, the screening process has begun to appoint the right person to take Krupski’s place for the next few months — and that person will have to run for the seat in November.
But Art Tillman, head of the Southold Town Democratic Committee, said that he was disappointed to hear that Democratic candidates are being screened by the Southold Town Republican Committee before being interviewed by the Town Board, which is now all Republican.
“I have told Democratic and independent candidates to submit their resumes to the Town Board who should be doing the screening,” Tillman wrote in an email to North Fork Patch. “To have Democratic candidates screen before the Southold Town Republican Committee is blatantly unfair and partisan politics at its worse.”
Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said that the board is merely “seeking the guidance of the committee, however the decision will be ours to make when it is said and done,” he said, adding that he has received only two applications from interested Democrats.
“When I was first elected to the position of Supervisor, I was in the minority,” Russell said. “I watched as the Democratic board members made appointments to ZBA and to Planning. I watched as they gave out contracts to do work for the town to their party supporters despite no clear public bidding process…. To suggest that [Democratic candidates] and others were picked randomly by the Democratic board without the Democratic Committee having any input is intellectually dishonest and fools nobody.”
“I have sought guidance and input in the past from the Republican Committee members as I am sure Democratic office holders have from their party committee,” Russell continued. “I asked them what they thought of me appointing Albert Krupski as Deputy Supervisor- their answer: Good Choice. I asked them what they thought of my appointing Leslie Weismann as Chairperson of the Zoning Board of Appeals- their answer- Good Choice.”
Tillman said that to have all candidates screened by one party is still not fair.
“There was a time elected members of the Town Board represent all the voters of Southold,” Tillman said. “For the Town Board to delegate the screening selection to the Republican party is the wrong decision and negates the responsibility of the Town Board. In my over 40 years of political involvement I have never heard of having candidates of all parties and independents screened by one party who happens to have a 5 to 0 majority on the Town Board.”
Do you think an all-Republican committee should be screening candidates for Town Board appointee? Tell us in the comments.