Incumbent Robby Stein Re-Elected, Former Village Clerk Sandra Schroeder Voted Onto Sag Harbor Village Board


UPDATE: 10:55 P.M.

Incumbent Robby Stein was re-elected as a trustee on the Sag Harbor Village Board Tuesday night, receiving 308 votes. Also filling the second empty seat was Sandra Schroeder, a retired Sag Harbor Village clerk, who received 270 votes.

Ms. Schroeder will replace board member Kevin Duchemin, who had announced that he could not seek re-election for personal reasons.

Coming in third was newcomer John Shaka with 219 votes. Placing fourth was former trustee Bruce Stafford with 124 votes.

“Congratulations to all of them,” Mayor Brian Gilbride said Tuesday night. “Another year starts.”

Original Story:

Water quality and taxes are just two of many issues concerning the four candidates for the Sag Harbor Village Board, two of whom will be elected this week to two-year terms.

The candidates are Sandra Schroeder of the Residents Party, John Shaka of the Main Street Party, Bruce Stafford of the Sag Harbor Party, and Robby Stein of the Windmill Party. Mr. Stein is the lone incumbent in the race; Village Board member Kevin Duchemin announced that he will not seek reelection.

Voting for the two open trustee positions will take place on Tuesday, June 17, from noon to 9 p.m. at the main firehouse on Brick Kiln Road.

Sandra Schroeder

A lifelong resident of Sag Harbor, Ms. Schroeder, 57, spent more than 20 years serving as the village clerk before retiring in 2010. She said she knows the ins and outs of village government and understands how all the different boards and committees work.

Ms. Schroeder ran for mayor last year but lost by 11 votes. She said she decided to run for trustee this year at the suggestion of Mr. Duchemin.

“I know all the people on the board,” she said. “I think I’d be a good addition. I feel I have a lot to offer the village. There’s no learning curve.”

If elected, Ms. Schroeder said she would like to see the village code revised, as she believes some portions are outdated. As a trustee, she would ensure that there is more interaction between government and residents, as well as better communication among the various village regulatory boards, she said.

The most important issue, she said, is maintaining Sag Harbor’s waterfront. Sag Harbor is one of only a few waterfront villages on the South Fork, and its docks serve as its second-highest source of revenue. Because of that, Ms. Schroeder said she will work to make sure the docks are preserved and improved. “I really think we have to refurbish a lot down there,” she said of the harbor area. “It’s all connected with the village.” She added that road runoff concerns her, too.

Clamping down on group home rentals is another issue Ms. Schroeder said she will work on if voted in.

Ms. Schroeder lives on Division Street with her husband, John. They have two grown children, John Jr. and David.

John Shaka

Even though Mr. Shaka, 50, is new to village government, he is no stranger to working for change in Sag Harbor. Mr. Shaka currently serves on the board of the community outreach organization Save Sag Harbor and is taking his first stab at running for trustee. He has lived in the village for 15 years.

“I’m a fast learner and I work hard,” he said.

One reason Mr. Shaka said he believes he would make a good trustee is the effort he has made to calm traffic on Jermain and Main streets. Mr. Shaka said the idea of traffic calming first came up at his kitchen table in December, and since then he has helped reduce speed on those streets by 33 percent. Traffic calming would continue to be an issue that Mr. Shaka pledged to focus on, should he be elected.

Historic preservation is another issue. Living in an old house himself, he said he is interested in keeping other historic buildings and structures intact, especially the ones on Main Street. Keeping sidewalks safe for pedestrians is another goal he intends to tackle as a trustee.

He said water quality is a main concern. Mr. Shaka said he boats, paddleboards and often swims, and has noticed a change in the water over two years, specifically the harmful red and brown tides caused by algal blooms. “It’s new, and it’s not good for shellfish,” he said.

A painting contractor who has his own business, Mr. Shaka lives on Hampton Street with his husband, Matthew O’Grady.

Bruce Stafford

Mr. Stafford, 56, served a two-year term as a trustee a few years ago and hopes to be voted in again to take care of some unfinished business.

“Government takes so long to get anything accomplished,” he said. “You’re not going to fix anything overnight.”

When he was a trustee, Mr. Stafford said he helped bring down taxes by $30 per $800,000 home, and now he would like to help lower them even more. Mr. Stafford said he would like to see Sag Harbor be “greener” with the help of solar panels and better drainage, and he would also like to help make waterways more accessible for public use.

Lastly, Mr. Stafford said that as a trustee, he would help create a capital fund to put toward dock restoration.

Mr. Stafford is an active member of his church and the village fire department, and he is a Boy Scout leader as well. With those experiences, along with his previous term as a trustee, he said he believes he is able to work well with others to get important jobs done.

“If you work together, it shows what you can do,” he said.

Mr. Stafford, a landscaper, resides on Havens Lane. He has three children, Bruce Jr., Alexa and Beau.

Robby Stein

A current trustee, Mr. Stein, 65, has been on the board for five years and currently serves as Sag Harbor’s deputy mayor. Mr. Stein said he is seeking reelection because, like Mr. Stafford, he has helped start projects to address flooding and septic issues that he would like to help finish.

And, like Ms. Schroeder, Mr. Stein said he has no learning curve and knows all of the people involved with the village government, thus making him a strong candidate. “I think if you ask people, they know I’m in the village all of the time,” he said. “I communicate with literally every aspect of the village.”

If reelected, Mr. Stein said he would use his term to help keep taxes down and make streets and sidewalks safer for bikers and pedestrians. He also wants to develop a capital plan and uses for open spaces.

Mr. Stein said Sag Harbor should become more of a year-round residence rather than a summer destination, and that he would work to help make that happen.

“I think I’m seen as someone who works hard,” he said. “I really enjoy representing Sag Harbor.”

A child psychologist, he resides on Princeton Road with his wife, Alexandra McNear. He has a stepdaughter, Vesna Bozic.

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