Southold town board appointment criticized

James Dinizio, 59, of Greenport, has been picked

James Dinizio, 59, of Greenport, has been picked by the Southold Town Board to fill the seat left vacant by town Councilman Al Krupski, a popular Democrat elected to the Suffolk Legislature on Jan. 14. (Credit: Gordon M. Grant)

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James Dinizio, 59, of Greenport, has been picked by the Southold Town Board to fill the seat left vacant by town Councilman Al Krupski, a popular Democrat elected to the Suffolk Legislature on Jan. 14.

Krupski took the seat of former Legis. Edward P. Romaine, elected Brookhaven Town supervisor in November.

So that leaves just one more seat -- Dinizio's on the town Zoning Board of Appeals -- to fill in the East End game of political dominoes.

After being sworn in Tuesday night following the town board meeting, Dinizio said he would have to give up his seat on the ZBA. No one has been picked for that appointed post.

The way Dinizio was picked -- but not the man himself -- was criticized by town Democratic leader Art Tillman, who originally suggested that because Krupski was the only Democrat on the town board, another Democrat should replace him.

Dinizio is a registered Conservative, said Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell.

When that didn't happen, Tillman took exception to Russell's decision to have the town GOP chairman screen all the candidates.

Russell said he was only looking for someone who could get support from a major party, and that the town board wanted to pick someone likely to remain in office.

Dinizio said Tuesday night he plans to run for the seat in November.

But Tillman told the town board Tuesday night that the way Krupski's replacement was chosen just looks bad. Southold is one of Suffolk's smallest towns, with a year-round population of about 23,000. And, at times, finding candidates for local office is difficult.

Russell pointed out that Democrats were in charge when Dinizio was named to the Zoning Board of Appeals, and that "for all the years I've known him, he's opposed as many Republicans as he supported."

Tillman said he had no problem with Dinizio serving on the town board, just the way he was screened. "I like the guy," he said.

But he cautioned that voters in Southold, who over the years have elected Democrats and Republicans to the town board, will not approve what looks like a heavy-handed political maneuver.

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