The new mayor of Shoreham has outlined plans to address complaints that the small village's government had lost touch with residents.
Mayor Ed Weiss announced "a new way of doing things" Tuesday night as he opened his first village board of trustees meeting since his election last month. Weiss said the public would be invited to speak at the beginning of board meetings -- rather than the end, as had been done previously -- and he plans to hold Saturday morning forums three or four times a year to solicit input from residents.
"We're going to throw it back to you -- your ideas, what you'd like to see," Weiss told about 30 village employees and residents during the meeting at Village Hall. "This way, we learn from you what you want."
Weiss and trustees Kathleen Baumann Schnoor and Rosie Connell, who were all sworn in before the meeting, had campaigned on a platform calling for greater government transparency. They defeated Mayor Roger Pijacki, trustee Carol Willen and trustee candidate Joe Falco last month.
Some residents of Shoreham -- a century-old village of about 531 residents on the north shore of Brookhaven Town -- have complained that officials routinely failed to comply with the state open meetings law.
Resident Michael Madigan said village officials did not respond when his wife requested copies of village board meeting minutes through the state Freedom of Information Law. He said Weiss' first meeting gave him hope that things would improve.
"They did great," he said.
Weiss said minutes would be posted on the village website within a week after meetings. He also said he hoped to hold meetings to no more than an hour and a half in length.
"There's no reason why this should take two or three or four hours," he said. Tuesday's meeting lasted about one hour and 38 minutes.
In addition to changing meeting formats, Weiss said he planned to complete efforts started by previous administrations, such as development of a new village master plan and updated rules governing subdivisions. A village moratorium on subdivisions has lasted about two years, he said.
He also said the village plans to repair curbs and pothole-infested roads. "Our roads are a mess, and everyone knows it," Weiss said.