Running in the race are Democrats Brad Bender, a small business owner with over 25 years construction and management experience and Frank Zappone, a former school administrator who currently serves as the Southampton Deputy Supervisor; Republicans candidates are Sanley Glinka, who is the vice president of Bridgehampton National Bank and president of the Hampton Bays Chamber of Commerce and Jeffrey Mansfield, who has experience as a finance professional on Wall Street, having worked at Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch, and Lehman Brothers.
Patch recently asked the candidates a series of questions. The following are their responses in their own words.
Why are you running for office?
Bender: I want to see real representation for all the hardworking people of Southampton. I have committed to being a full-time Councilperson without fulltime outside business interests. My record of community involvement is solid and proven by results in the community in which I reside. I will bring this skill set to all our taxpayers, will take time to listen and reach out to all our residents. I love our town and want the best for all our residents and future generations, housing, jobs and our unsurpassed natural resources.
Glinka: Being given the honor of the nomination to run for town council to me is the next step in my progression of community involvement. I can bring my knowledge of the needs and wants to our residents together with my financial expertise and management skills and make a meaningful contribution.
Mansfield: I am running because I am a concerned citizen and I want to make our Town better. My qualifications include a long family history in Southampton Town (property owners and taxpayers since 1969), and a deep respect for our area’s heritage; an education in law and business (JD/MBA Syracuse University 1990); over 15 years as a finance professional (Lehman Brothers/Merrill Lynch/Deutsche Bank), and Town Hall experience (Town Budget and Finance Advisory Committee/Town Audit Advisory Committee).
Zappone: I am running for office because I believe I can and have made a difference in this community as your deputy supervisor. Too often however, good ideas and effusive solutions to problems we face fall victim to political posturing and ideology. There are no republican or democratic ideas for addressing the issue of improved water quality. There are only sound, scientifically based regional solutions to that very significant concern. I am a project manager not a politician. I know how to get thing done but I am also experienced enough to skillfully navigate the reality of implementing effective public policy.
Why should taxpayers vote for you?
Bender: As a local businessman, proven community leader, with many years of community service I have knowledge and capabilities to represent our town. I’ve built relationships with town, county and state officeholders many department heads in local and county government as well as local, county and state Law Enforcement.
I’ve been working to bring economic development to our town through leveraging grant monies from county and state government totaling over 1.6 million dollars. This will bring needed redevelopment and jobs to our poorest district.
Glinka: I was born and raised in Southampton. I’ve been working with businesses and residents throughout the town both in charity and civic work and as a financial professional for over 20 years in the town of Southampton. I care about this town and have always strived to make a difference in different facets of the town. Given the opportunity I can make a much larger difference for the entire town with greater resources.
Mansfield: Because I am a fiscal conservative who believes in small government, low taxes, less regulation and self-reliance.
Zappone: I bring experience as an effective school administrator in some of the highest performing school districts in New York State. I have worked as a consultant in the private sector with Apple Computer and in the not-for-proﬁt sectors with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This broad range of experiences gives me a perspective on local issues that is unique along with a skill set to address those issues. In addition, I have been a part of the fabric of this community for many years. I understand and value its history and I have vision for its future that builds on that understanding of history. As deputy supervisor, I have an in-depth understanding of the workings of town government and am prepared to begin to work to deliver on my commitment from my very ﬁrst day in office. I have been a full-time deputy supervisor and I will be a full-time councilman.
What do you see as the three top issues facing the town?
Bender: Protecting our waters. Whether it is our ground waters, bays estuaries, lakes, ponds bays and ocean now is the time to act. Our waters are currently impaired and years of septic, roadway, farmland and residential runoff are already in the ground and headed to our waters. We must act and work regionally to address this major problem.
Code enforcement continue to support our code department who has this year had 3 times more actions than in the previous. With new technologies recently put in place and moving the department into town hall, working closer with the Town Attorney and Fire Marshall office as well as recently added staff improvement should continue.
Glinka: Public safety, economic redevelopment and water quality
Mansfield: Fiscal responsibility, water quality, and code enforcement.
Zappone: The three top issues facing our community are the protection of the quality of our surface and ground waters, addressing the need to continue to improve the public safety divisions of town government, and bringing economic revitalization appropriate to a coastal community such as ours. Supervisor Throne-Holst's administration,, of which I have been part, has stabilized and strengthened the financial structure of our town. We must maintain that stability and strength, but we are now in a position to focus more fully on these three broader and significant issues.
If the town had the money, what major project would you like to see the town undertake?
Bender: As this is a hypothetical question I would tackle our largest problem and that would be a sewage and wastewater treatment facility for the town this would solve a lot of our water issues and open the door for economic development.
Glinka: There are several areas that need to be concentrated on. Staffing in public safety along with providing support with economic redevelopment.
Mansfield: I would like to see a state of the art indoor/year round aquatic facility. Accidental drowning is one of the leading causes of death for young children. Besides teaching our children to swim, it could be used as a venue for swim teams from our local schools, a training facility for our first responders, and scuba certification, and a low impact physical exercise facility for our seniors.
Zappone: I would undertake two initiatives: 1. improving the town's resiliency and storm mitigation efforts. Sea rise and recurring storms pose a signiﬁcant threat to our community. Measures can be undertaken to mitigate the impact of those changes. Road elevation projects, beach renourishment projects, improved emergency operations services and more effective evacuation and sheltering programs to name just a few; 2. I would use the additional funding available to play a larger role in addressing the regional issue of water quality abatement and retention. I would contribute more to the funding of ell grass plantings, shell ﬁsh seeding projects, dredging projects and investigate the value of control ﬂushing of our bays at upland estuaries. As a counterpoint to those efforts, I would support the kind of research and development needed to address the water quality issue at its source - the tens of thousands of single and separate septic systems throughout the region. Effective and affordable system exist and more can be developed. These efforts require funding. If the town was in a position to pay a larger financial role, I would support that role.
Where do you see the town in 5 years?
Bender: I see our town moving forward as our economy improves and once again we are a vibrant economy with tourism fueled by our natural resources. Our hamlet centers are bustling with activity. We have preserved major pieces of important lands that protect our drinking waters. Our roadways are maintained and clean. We have developed and installed the latest in wastewater management to protect our waters.
Glinka: I see the town prospering economically with a great reinforcement in public safety.
Mansfield: I see the Town in great financial shape because the Board has scrutinized every spending initiative and concentrated on one-time investments in infrastructure and technology upgrades versus adding staff that implies rising and recurring health care and pension costs that are a threat to our Town's financial health and stability. I see great strides made in cleaning up our bays and our drinking water through lobbying Suffolk County to approve nitrogen reducing septic systems for use by our local businesses and residents. I see an improved quality of life for our residents by strengthening our code enforcement and expediting of the adjudication process.
Zappone: If we continue the financial policies currently in place, I see the town as the gold standees for effective financial management. But, more specifically I see two areas of town significantly transformed: the Hampton Bays business district and the Riverside/Flanders community. Focusing this response on the Riverside/Flanders community, the supervisor instituted the Riverside Economic Development Task Force nearly three years ago. This group that includes members of the community, county official, staff from land management, representatives of the real estate industry, two Board members and. Myself has been hard at work developing a long-range plan for this area. We began the process by gathering together county, state And local official to tour the entire area so that we could get some insight into the potential as seen by others. The outcome of that effort has led to several positive outcome: we were able to secure funding for a sewer study(now complete), the county is developing plans to redesign the traffic circle, we have secure two grants totaling over $250,000, one to remediate brownﬁeld areas in the community and another to develop a portion of the Riverside Maritime Trail, we have spark the interest of the Blue Duck Bakery to build in this community, we created a funding stream from code violator ﬁnes to clean up blighted lots and have addressed two such location in the past few months, we have issued an RFQ to solicit a developer to create a concept design and plan for the downtown portion of Riverside (NY 24), we have submitted another grant application for the construction of a pedestrian footbridge connecting to downtown Riverhead, and we have strengthened our partnership on this effort with the Riverhead Town Board. These are significant accomplishment and the foundation for a completely revitalized riversides community. As a councilman, I would continue to move all of these efforts and other forward.
Which two candidates will you cast a ballot for? Let us know in the comment section below.