Frederick L. Overton, the East Hampton Town clerk, is running for a spot on the East Hampton Town Board, where council members receive a $61,750 annual salary.
Not affiliated with any party, the Springs resident is cross-endorsed by the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties.
This is Mr. Overton’s first time running for Town Board, but he is not new to holding elected positions, as he served as town assessor from 1990 to 2000, and a Trustee from 1988 to 1989, in addition to his current post as East Hampton town clerk. He has also served as treasurer and commissioner for the Springs Fire District.
He and his wife Lynn have three daughters and three grandchildren.
The East Hampton High School graduate attended one year of college. He also served four years in the U.S. Navy, from 1965 to 1969.
“After serving the residents of East Hampton Town for nearly 26 years as an elected official, I believe I’m the most qualified and most experienced person to serve on the Town Board today,” Mr. Overton said. “I am truly an independent candidate who believes people come before politics.”
He touts among his accomplishments as town clerk, upgrading the computer system and townwide computer network, working with the Town Board to create the town website, adding bilingual clerks and computerizing records for false alarm charges and recreational and commercial boat slip rentals, as well as launching a section of the website that publicizes meeting dates, agendas, minutes, resolutions, videos and public hearing notices.
In a recent debate, he said he would do his best to ensure that agendas are available in a timely manner, pointing a finger at the board members by saying they do not turn in that information soon enough.
If elected, Mr. Overton said he would like to establish a solid working relationship with the majority board members and would like to be as fiscally responsible as Supervisor Bill Wilkinson’s administration, which rescued the town from the fiscal mismanagement of the previous administration. Mr. Overton said he would also “work with the majority members of the board to complete ongoing projects.”
Mr. Overton noted that he has been a public servant all his life.
“I don’t need on-the-job training, and I believe in commonsense solutions,” he said. He has pointed out that by having attended more than 800 Town Board meetings, he has gained a deep familiarity with the issues of the town, as well as the current contract for Civil Service employees and the town budget process.
The biggest issues in town right now depend on where one lives, Mr. Overton said, adding that quality-of-life issues, erosion, taxes, affordable housing, infrastructure, deer, the airport, scavenger waste and environmental protection would be good places to start.
In terms of the airport, Mr. Overton has said he would support the expiration of Federal Aviation Administration grant assurances (set to expire at the end of 2014) only as a last resort, and “only after the much-needed information to make such a decision has been collected and analyzed.”
He said a thorough analysis and business plan of airport finances is vital. “My commitment is to maintaining a safe airport without using taxpayer dollars to do it,” he said.
While interested in exploring ways to reduce noise from jet and helicopter noise, he also stresses that he is opposed to shutting down the airport altogether.
In terms of shoring up the beaches, Mr. Overton has said that he initially supported the idea of a buried rock wall for Montauk, but after listening to a presentation by coastal experts who strongly advised against hard structures, his preference has shifted toward geotextile tubing, if approved by the Trustees.