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Write-in trustee-elect 'not a follower'

Harry E. Pinkerton III, the newest Bayville trustee

Harry E. Pinkerton III, the newest Bayville trustee stands outside Village Hall. (June 20, 2012) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

The Bayville trustee-elect who defied the odds and won as a write-in candidate said his next feat will be working alongside others on the village board.

Harry E. Pinkerton III -- who capitalized on his surname by mailing pink fliers with write-in voting instructions to residents in the final bitter weeks before Tuesday's election -- on July 2 joins an administration he has publicly pilloried.

"I'm 99 percent positive they're willing to work with me and listen to me," he said Wednesday, "and I'm very open to working with them, but I'm not a follower."

Pinkerton, 62, pulled off a rare political coup, emerging with more votes than any of the three incumbent trustees on the ballot.

The mustachioed president of a medical pump manufacturing firm, who never had run for office before, said his first order of business is "learning the rules of the road."

Pinkerton had been a constant presence at board meetings, rallying residents disgruntled over everything from sinkholes to late-night fireworks.

His victory marked the end of an acrimonious election during which his nominating petitions were declared invalid and a mass mailing from the incumbents slammed his supporters as "puppets." Last week, Pinkerton at a board meeting facetiously thanked officials for encouraging him to run.

Mayor Doug Watson on Wednesday said he is ready to work with Pinkerton if the trustee-elect makes an effort to listen and learn.

"There's a big difference between being able to do or say whatever you want and being an elected official," Watson said. "His first step in cooperating is going to have to be to calm his followers down."

Rory Cohen, 63, who voted for Pinkerton, said his election was the dual result of residents having faith in him and being "fed up" with the incumbents.

"People are tired of the good ol' boys club," she said. "There's change in the air."

Election Day itself seemed a chaotic tangle of events. Voters reported that poll workers were not knowledgeable about write-in procedures and that voting stalled during what was believed to be a paper shortage.

Resident Vicki Metz on Wednesday said she would have voted improperly had one poll worker not interrupted another to give correct write-in instructions. Metz said she left the polling place after being told paper for write-in ballots had run out, returning a half-hour later to finally vote.

Nassau board of elections Democratic Commissioner William Biamonte said his office sent someone to Bayville on Tuesday with more paper after it fielded complaints.

Bayville clerk/treasurer Maria Alfano-Hardy said the delivery was not needed, as upon inspection, the voting booths "had paper the whole time."

Margaret Marchand, a write-in candidate who was not elected but whose petitions also were tossed, confirmed there was paper all along despite a day of "purposeful confusion."

In the end, she said, residents should relish Pinkerton's victory despite the odds, leave the controversies behind them and look forward to his term.

"He has an ability to even the playing field and make friends out of enemies," she said. "He'll say, 'I'm here to help Bayville. Let's roll up our sleeves and work together.'"

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