East Hampton Village Board member Richard Lawler has been named interim mayor, and Barbara Borsack his deputy.
The moves come following now-former mayor Paul Rickenbach’s resignation last month. The board members will assume their new roles, effective immediately, until June. No objections were made during the passing of the resolutions January 17.
“This decision is not a reflection on any of the other board members’ ability to do the job more or less successfully,” village trustee Rose Brown said. “The board thought long and hard about its decision regarding both appointments and as Lawler was serving as deputy mayor, it would be the natural progression for him to step into the position of interim mayor.”
Absent was former police chief Jerry Larsen, who had been openly critical of the board’s desire to make the early appointments. He intends to challenge Borsack in the June mayoral race.
The board, still one member short, took no action regarding the vacant seat, though it could opt to appoint a temporary board member who would serve until the next election.
The board is comprised of four trustees and a mayor. The deputy mayor is selected from the elected board members. Two years ago, Brown and Arthur Graham were elected to four-year terms running under their Fish Hooks Party line.
In Larsen’s run for mayor, he’s calling his party the New Town Party, and has chosen his running mate, attorney Sandra Melendez, who seeks a board seat and would presumably be Larsen’s choice for deputy mayor if elected. Borsack will run for mayor on the Elms Party line with incumbents Lawler and Ray Harden. The top two vote-getters will earn seats regardless of party affiliation.
In a recent press release, Larsen trumpeted his ability to raise campaign funds. He stated his campaign has already raised more money than any candidate in village history. “We are raising funds to compete and deliver our message against incumbents who’ve been running this village for a combined 36 years,” Larsen’s campaign manager and treasurer Marcos Baladron said, adding as of January 11 Larsen has raised almost $50,000.
In contrast, Borsack, Lawler, and Harden have cumulatively raised over $30,000.