Kathleen Mulcahy, a political neophyte, rolled to a decisive victory in the Sag Harbor mayoral race Tuesday. Mulcahy ousted two-term incumbent Mayor Sandra Schroeder by a better than 2-to-1 margin, with 489 votes to Schroeder’s 197, to claim the village’s top job.
Mulcahy’s running mates, incumbent Trustee Aidan Corish and Bob Plumb, also won. Corish received 481 votes to win his second two-year term, while Plumb, a member of the village Zoning Board of Appeals, received 447 votes. They easily outpolled Jennifer Ponzini, who received 247 votes, and Silas Marder, who received 78, to claim the two open board seats.
“We worked really hard. I had a team of volunteers that was beyond amazing,” said Mulcahy. “Everybody worked, but also the village wanted change. I heard it every time I walked down the street.”
Mulcahy said voters were upset about many issues including the fouling of Havens Beach when a Suffolk County dumped spoil there after dredging the channel west of Long Wharf; the village’s controversial decision to press ahead with a police impound lot in the Long Pond Greenbelt, despite much public objection; and the way development has been handled in the village.
“There were so many decisions made without public input, without communication, without conversation that the village was tired of it,” Mulcahy said.
About 50 supporters of the various candidates gathered at the Sag Harbor Firehouse shortly before the polls closed at 9 PM. They were in for a long wait.
Election workers spent well over an hour tallying the votes. After they had checked and rechecked their work, they wrote the results on a whiteboard in the far corner of the room out of sight of the crowd, before carrying it back to the near side of the room and turning it around. The hush in the room was replaced by gasps and cheers, as Mulcahy and her family and friends celebrated.
Schroeder quietly congratulated Mulcahy before leaving the firehouse with her supporters.
“I think it is a remarkable result. It speaks for itself,” said Corish. “There was a definite movement for change out there.”
Plumb said he was also surprised by the strong showing. “I didn’t expect it to be that much,” he said, before adding that results were indicative of the desire for change in the way the village is run.
Election Day had its share of controversy. An old fire truck, with several signs supporting the candidacy of Ponzini was parked directly across the street from the firehouse Tuesday afternoon. Some voters said it appeared the fire department itself was supporting her, which was not the case. Others complained it was parked too close to the firehouse entrance and violated the law.
With victory easily in hand, Mulcahy did not want to press the issue.
“That was a privately owned fire truck parked on private grounds,” she said. “I got a lot of negative comments about it from my constituents, but that was their right to do it.”
A ballot proposition to increase pensions for volunteer emergency service workers from $20 to $30 for each year of service, also passed easily, and Village Justice Lisa Rana, who was running unopposed, received 471 votes, although President Donald Trump and the cartoon character Homer Simpson, who each received one vote apiece, were among a handful of write-ins for the justice position.
- Sag Harbor Trustee Thomas Gardella, second from right, congratulates Kathleen Mulcahy, Bob Plumb, and Aidan Corish after their victory in the Sag Harbor Village election. Independent/Stephen J. Kotz