Benjamin Dyett, councilman, left, Amber Brach-Williams, supervisor for Shelter Island,...

Benjamin Dyett, councilman, left, Amber Brach-Williams, supervisor for Shelter Island, Margaret Larsen, councilwoman, during a special meeting at Shelter Island Town Hall on Monday. Credit: Randee Daddona

Shelter Island’s town board will proceed one member short for the remainder of the year after it failed to reach a consensus on appointing a fifth member and deadlocked on a vote to request a special election.

Supervisor Amber Brach-Williams vacated her council seat after winning November’s election for the town’s top position. That left the board with four members — two Republicans and two Democrats — at the start of this year.

Brach-Williams announced earlier this month the board had interviewed 11 candidates to fill the vacancy but were at an impasse on a selection. Instead, the board voted Monday night to request the governor set a special election.

But that measure failed as well in a party-line vote.

Brach-Williams and Margaret Larsen, the two Republicans, voted in favor of requesting a special election, while the two Democrats, Benjamin Dyett and Albert Dickson, voted against it.

The Democrats said they preferred to wait until November when more island residents would participate. The Republicans disagreed and sought to fill the seat sooner.

“If they care, they will chime in, they will vote,” Brach-Williams said during a Feb. 13 meeting.

In November’s election, voters will decide on a candidate to fill the final year of Brach-Williams’ four-year council seat, officials said. Then the seat will be up for a full term in November 2025.

At Monday’s meeting, Dyett said none of the board members “acted as obstructionists” and responsibility for the impasse falls on each board member.

“It’s really simple,” he said. “The two or three candidates that Meg and Amber favored were just not the same two or three candidates that Albert and I favored. No conspiracies. No drama.”

Gary Blados, the Republican chairman on Shelter Island, called the fallout “really unfortunate.”

“The island is just going to spin its wheels for the next 11 months,” he said in an interview Tuesday.

Blados blamed the “splinter group” the Democrats ran as in November called “A Better Island For All.”

“They made a purely political, calculated decision based on their agenda and their big-money donors,” he said.

Gordon Gooding, who lost the supervisor race in November but remains active with the “A Better Island For All” campaign, said Tuesday “we should be working hard to bring our community together.”

Democratic Chairwoman Heather Reylek did not respond to a request for comment.

Gerard Siller, the former supervisor who lost a Democratic primary last June to Gooding, said at Monday's meeting the board should appoint Tom Cronin to the vacancy. Cronin, who retired from the Shelter Island Police Department in 2018 after a 22-year career, ran in November for town board as a Republican and lost. He finished third behind the town Democratic candidates.

Blados confirmed Cronin sought the appointment, as did Art Williams, the other Republican candidate who lost in November.

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months