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Mastic Beach trustees change seats to ‘promote transparency’

Mastic Beach Village Hall is seen on Oct.

Mastic Beach Village Hall is seen on Oct. 2, 2015. Credit: Johnny Milano

Distrust along the Mastic Beach dais has morphed into an odd game of musical chairs.

Mayor Maura Spery is no longer allowed to sit next to her seatmate, village clerk/administrator Susan Alevas, because board members believe the pair privately consult too much during meetings, officials said.

“It’s petty and childish,” Spery said Tuesday. “It just seems so juvenile and silly. It let me know they are more concerned with playing games instead of doing work for the Village of Mastic Beach.”

Spery and Alevas have sat beside each other during public meetings for more than a year, often discussing village issues, sometimes privately.

Apparently their chatter became cumbersome for the board majority, whose members questioned why the two frequently spoke among themselves.

The 3-2 decision was made last month after the board passed a resolution banishing Alevas to the opposite end of the dais.

Trustee Joseph Johnson voted in favor of the new seating chart.

“For the past year the public has witnessed the mayor whispering to both counsel and the village clerk/administrator,” Johnson said via text message on Tuesday. “The reorganization on the dais was done to promote transparency in our government.”

Spery said reassigning seats will only delay meetings.

“They didn’t stop anything,” Spery said. “I’m just going to get up from my seat and walk and ask her my questions.”

Reached last week by phone, Alevas said the board made its decision and that she will follow the new seating arrangement.

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