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Amityville trustee resigns, appointed to zoning board

Amityville Village Hall

Amityville Village Hall Credit: Alexi Knock

Two-term trustee Richard Ubert resigned from the Amityville Village Board Monday night, eight years after he was first elected, only to be appointed minutes later by Mayor Peter Imbert to the zoning board of appeals.

Ubert, 47, a service manager for Otis Elevator, said earlier this year he did not intend to run for re-election next month.

The zoning board of appeals chairman for eight years before he became a trustee, Ubert said in interview Tuesday that a less demanding role in government would give him more time for making repairs to his house, damaged during superstorm Sandy, and for his job, where the workload has increased significantly since the storm.

“They were good years,” Ubert said of his time as trustee, pointing to restrictions on auto repair businesses along Merrick Road and new condominium developments as signature accomplishments. He served as liaison to the building department.

Ubert’s seat on the board of trustees will go unfilled until after the March 19 election. He said business forced him to miss Monday’s meeting and that he would have missed the next meeting as well.

Imbert said Monday night he will appoint Scott Erath, who had four years left in his zoning board term, to fill the seat of Ed Batz, who resigned earlier this year with three years remaining in his term.

Ubert will then serve out the four years left in Erath’s term, and Erath will serve out Batz’s term.

Imbert said in an interview Tuesday that he made the move to give Ubert “the longest term possible, as a friend, trusted ally and responsible official.”

Most members of the zoning board and planning board are holdovers who continue to serve even after their five-year appointments have expired.

The mayor can replace a holdover at any time by appointing a new member to take his or her place, giving the mayor leverage even though the boards are nominally independent.

Imbert, due to step down next month, said Tuesday that during his 16-year tenure he never exercised the power but had kept it in case either board went “rogue.”

“Speak softly and carry a big stick,” Imbert said, appropriating a quote attributed to President Theodore Roosevelt.


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