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Poquott board appoints two new trustees after pair resigns

Three newly installed members of the Poquott Village Board have appointed a pair of trustees following the abrupt resignations of two incumbents.

Trustees Carol Lane and Kathleen Matthews tendered their resignations Monday, hours before Mayor Dolores Parrish and trustees John Pesek and Edward Schmidt were sworn in during a ceremony outside Poquott Village Hall.

Parrish, Pesek and Schmidt -- who unseated longtime Mayor Barbara Donovan and trustees Sandra Nicoletti and Christine Vitkun in elections last month -- appointed Sharon Abernathy and Joe Colombo to complete the final year of Lane's and Matthews' unexpired terms. The mayor and trustees are not paid.

Parrish, Pesek and Schmidt said they were disappointed by the resignations. Matthews and Lane could not be reached for comment.

The appointments of Colombo and Abernathy were among more than a dozen approved Monday by the board. Schmidt, 21, was appointed deputy mayor, and former village Clerk Joseph Newfield and former village attorney Joseph Prokop returned to their old posts.

Parrish, 46, said the revamped government represented a new chapter for the small village on Brookhaven Town's north shore, which was founded in 1659 and incorporated in 1931. Poquott has no businesses, bans street parking and, with a population of 950, belongs to the East Setauket postal district because it is too small to have its own ZIP code.

Parrish said the board would improve communications by upgrading the village website and lifting restrictions on speaking times at meetings. Donovan had limited speakers to two minutes or less, Parrish said. "We want people to be able to speak their mind," Parrish said in an interview. "There's not going to be any time limit on it."

Several dozen village residents applauded after Prokop swore in Parrish, Pesek and Schmidt. The ceremony was celebrated with fireworks and champagne.

Jim Roth, a former trustee, said he was optimistic the new board would improve relations between village government and residents.

Donovan's administration "did the best they could," Roth said, "but I think it's time to turn the corner and put fresh blood in."

The village board will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at Village Hall, 45 Birchwood Ave., East Setauket.

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