Tucker, DiBenedetto Take Westhampton Beach Village Election


The two incumbents running under the Lightning Party banner were reelected to the Westhampton Beach Village Board on Friday, June 21, beating out their challenger, a former trustee.

Deputy Mayor Hank Tucker, who will serve a fourth two-year term, received 242 votes. His running mate, Patricia DiBenedetto, who was first elected to the board in 2011, received 246 votes.

Toni-Jo Birk, who previously served on the board for six years, came in third with 214 votes. She ran as a member of the Beach Party. Ms. Birk lost her bid for reelection last year by two votes as she was bested by Trustees Ralph Urban and Charlie Palmer. Both ran as members of the Lightning Party last June.

Of the 1,450 registered voters in the village, about 440, or 30 percent, turned out at the polls, according to village officials.

“I want to thank the residents for putting us back there so we can continue to work hard for them,” said Mr. Tucker, the owner of Holey Moses Cheesecakes in Westhampton, when reached on Monday.

Ms. DiBenedetto broke into tears after the results were read at Village Hall shortly after 9 p.m. on Friday, and she and Mr. Tucker, surrounded by a small group of family and friends, hugged to celebrate their win.

“I’m very, very pleased of the voters who did turn out and support us, and it just goes to show that the residents are looking for an open and honest government,” said Ms. DiBenedetto, a former member of the Westhampton Beach Planning Board.

The election came at the end of a tumultuous year in Westhampton Beach that was dominated by contentious financial issues, namely an error in payroll that resulted in $22,000 in employee overpayments, and payouts Mayor Conrad Teller authorized to village employees without the knowledge of the other trustees. Ms. DiBenedetto and Mr. Tucker, who pushed for an independent auditor to examine those matters, both said they will continue to keep a close eye on financial matters in their next term.

On Monday, Ms. Birk said she wanted to congratulate her opponents.

“I am very proud of the campaign I ran,” said Ms. Birk, whose family owns Bike ‘n Kite on Potunk Lane in the village. “There is nothing I would do differently.”

Village resident Clint Greenbaum, a former Westhampton Beach Board of Education member, received nine write-in votes while Dean Speir, a local blogger who ran an unsuccessful campaign for trustee a few years ago, received three write-in votes. Also, Simon Jorna, the owner of the Beach Bakery Cafe on Main Street, received one write-in vote.

There were no surprises in Quogue Village, where elections were also held on Friday, June 21.

Trustee Ted Necarsulmer was reelected to his second full term with 79 votes, and Trustee Randy Cardo was reelected to his tenth two-year term with 80 votes. Both ran unopposed.

The West Hampton Dunes Village elections were also uncontested.

Trustee Renee Brown received 33 votes. Mayor Gary Vegliante appointed her in 2011 to fill the seat once occupied by her late husband, Charles Brown. She was elected to finish out that term in 2012. Fellow Trustee Gary Trimarchi received 31 votes, and will serve his third four-year term.

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