A sign guides visitors to their destination as they enter...

A sign guides visitors to their destination as they enter Bayville. (Jan. 29, 2012) Credit: JC Cherubini

A Bayville village board meeting on Monday -- the last before next Tuesday's uncontested election -- descended into shouting and gavel-banging as a group that included two write-in trustee candidates demanded a public comment period.

After the regular meeting, Mayor Doug Watson tried to immediately adjourn to executive session, which excludes the public.

But he relented to the protests of a standing-room crowd of nearly 50 and took comments from five residents for 15 more minutes before going into executive session at 8 p.m.

The residents then stood outside Village Hall swapping grievances until a village employee locked the doors at 8:20 p.m.

"They won't listen," Grace Blank, 57, said. "They basically got up and walked away."

Jeff Silver, 45, said: "It's very convenient that they were able to stymie everyone right before the election."

Monday's unrest seemed to center on the saga of two residents whose nominating petitions were declared invalid.

A bipartisan Nassau County Board of Elections research team on May 24 declared most signatures collected by Harry E. Pinkerton III, 62, and Margaret Marchand, 42, as invalid because supporters had written "Bayville" rather than "Town of Oyster Bay" as their town of residence, Democratic elections commissioner William Biamonte said Tuesday. The ballot includes only three incumbent trustees.

The petitions were sent to the elections board after a resident challenged them, village officials said.

Pinkerton and Marchand, running as write-in candidates, took shots at the issue when they spoke Monday before the village board, citing "Town of Oyster Bay" as part of their addresses in their introductions.

"I'm pretty sure that even though my right to vote and choose was taken away, my right to freedom of speech is still intact," Marchand said as village attorney Dominic Bianco tried to quell what he called "electioneering."

Pinkerton also slid in a jab: "I wanted to say thank you for saying, 'Run for office,' at all these meetings . . . I tried."

The executive session ended about 9:15 p.m. By then, all the residents had dispersed.

Watson said he cut the meeting short because many of the residents had an agenda and sought to "embarrass" the board.

"I would have sat there and listened for five hours if it was constructive," he said.

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