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October 17, 2012

Overton Up For Grabs



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Fred Overton May Run For Town Board (click for larger version)
From town clerk to town councilman? This week Fred Overton said he won't be running for re-election next year as his term as East Hampton Town Clerk concludes. Instead, he'd like to take a crack at a seat on the town board.

Overton's no stranger to elected office. In fact, he's held one for close to 25 years. He was elected to the town trustees and served for two years in the 80s. In 1990 he was elected a town assessor, and in 2000 he began his service as the town clerk. He's been easily re-elected to the position each time since . . .

. . . But not always on the same ticket. Overton's run with Republicans and he's run on the Democratic ticket over the years. He joked that off the top of his head he couldn't remember which party he ran with which time; he's an equal opportunity masochist.

"I'd like to see a kinder, gentler town board," he said, saying that while he won't run for clerk next year, "I'm not closing the door on other options." Pointing out that his decades in town service have made him "intimately knowledgeable" of municipal government, he said, "I think I have a bit to offer if someone wants me." He admitted that he's been approached to run for town board over the years.

Still, Overton, who successfully battled cancer last year, said he wouldn't look to unseat any council people looking for re-election. "I wouldn't oppose them," he said. Republicans Dominick Stanzione and Theresa Quigley are both reaching the end of their first terms. So is Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, who has remained coy about discussing any potential re-election bid.

The idea of Quigley taking a shot at a supervisor run has been bandied about. However, she said this week that she's too focused on her daughter's recovery to think so far into the future. Her daughter Doris, an East Hampton Town Lifeguard, is in a rehab facility, on the road back from a paralyzing injury that occurred this past summer. Quigley spends as much time as she can with Doris.

It's also been rumored that East Hampton Village Administrator Larry Cantwell might throw his hat into the ring in a bid for the town's top spot next year. On Friday the Democrat espoused a "never say never" philosophy, confessing, "People ask me almost every election." With 30 years with the village under his belt, so far, Cantwell has avoided the campaign fray.

Overton isn't the only local elected who's run for office on different tickets. Legislator Jay Schneiderman, a member of the Independence Party, has alternately been endorsed by Democrats and Republicans. Although he has yet to announce anything formally, the lawmaker, who served as East Hampton supervisor from 2000 to 2004, is an acknowledged frontrunner for the town's top spot.

kmerrill@indyeastend.com

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