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Walter: Town Board Coordinator Firing Prompted Bid For 1st L.D. Seat

Supervisor Sean Walter is one of eight GOP members seeking the seat.

After initially opting to keep his name out of the race for a vacant First Legislative District seat, Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter officially threw his hat in the ring Monday night, weeks after Town Board Coordinator Linda Hulse was fired at a board meeting, a move he said was representative of a "shadow government" he would rather move on from.

Walter was one of eight candidates to screen for the GOP nomination for the seat on Monday night in front of executive committees with the Brookhaven, Riverhead, Southold and Shelter Island Republican Committees. The seat is opening up after  for the Brookhaven Town Supervisor Seat.

Whoever the committees decide on will face off against Democrat Al Krupski, currently a Southold Town Councilman, sometime in January or February.

Also screening were the following: Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio; Riverhead Councilman John Dunleavy; Bill Faulk, Chief Aide to Romaine; Catherine Stark, Chief Aide to Legislator Jay Schneiderman; Jim Saladino, former Riverhead Conservative Committee chairman; and Frank Seabrook, a ZBA member and publisher of the online New York Liberty Report. 

Seven of the eight candidates who screened reside in Riverhead, home to 22 of the First Legislative District's 62 election districts.

Suffolk County Republican Chairman John Jay LaValle said the committee should know by early next week who their candidate is.

Reached Tuesday evening, Walter said that he had been asked by politicians at several levels of government to run for the open seat, though had declined for several reasons, number one being the fact that work remains to be done at Enterprise Park at Calverton.

But a single resolution changed all that, said the supervisor.

Councilmen Jim Wooten and George Gabrielsen, along with Giglio, voted on Nov. 7 to fire Town Board Coordinator Linda Hulse, an at-will employee. The resolution, sponsored by Giglio, came off the floor – meaning it was not on the board meeting's published agenda – and after a failed attempt by the supervisor to table the resolution, the trio eventually passed it, 3-2. Dunleavy voted with Walter.

The board, according to reports published online, continued to argue over the merits of the firing for close to an hour. Riverhead News-Review quotes Walter as calling the three "cowards" while video posted by RiverheadLocal shows a portion of the argument itself.

"After that, it seemed like we have a shadow government going on here where I'm not going to be in control," said Walter.

The supervisor previously had told Patch that specifically his efforts to get businesses into EPCAL were the reason why he wanted to stay at Howell Avenue. But, he said, "Then I thought to myself, if I had a good town supervisor to follow in my footsteps, with me as a legislator, I could still keep pushing an EPCAL subdivision. It could be seamless."

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