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East Hampton panel talk on idea of town administrator

East Hampton Town Hall is located on Pantigo

East Hampton Town Hall is located on Pantigo Road at the edge of East Hampton Village. (Aug. 29, 2011) Credit: Erin Geismar

Saying there has to be a better way to run East Hampton Town, several community groups will hold a free public forum on the town administrator form of government on Saturday at 3 p.m. in the East Hampton Village Emergency Services Building on Cedar Street.

On the panel will be two men often talked about as candidates for town supervisor in November — Larry Cantwell and Zachary Cohen.

Cantwell is East Hampton Village’s administrator, while Cohen ran for supervisor in 2011, and was narrowly defeated by incumbent Bill Wilkinson.

Currently, the town board makes day-to-day decisions about hirings and firings and town government operations. Under a town administrator system, one person is hired to run town government operations, while elected officials make policy decisions and set the town budget and tax rates.

The meeting is sponsored by the East Hampton Business Alliance — which supports a town administrator — the League of Women Voters, and the East Hampton Good Government Group.

The program will explore the kind of duties a town administrator would perform. One panel member, Steven Altieri, is town administrator in the Westchester County town of Mamaroneck, which created the town administrator’s post in 1981.

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