Two months after a Southampton councilman stepped down following his conviction on a drug trafficking charge, Southampton residents will head to the polls tomorrow for a special election to decide who will fill his seat on the town board.
Both candidates vying for the vacant seat ran unsuccessful races in Southampton last fall. Richard Yastrzemski, the Republican candidate, lost the town supervisor race to Jay Schneidermann, and Democrat Julie Lofstad lost her bid for town council.
Yastrzemski currently serves as deputy mayor and trustee for Southampton Village. Lofstad owns a commercial fishing business and is the co-founder of the Hampton Bays Mothers’ Association.
The special election will be held tomorrow, January 26.
Former councilman Bradley Bender was in the middle of a four-year term when he was charged last November with buying oxycodone pills from Riverhead physician assistant Michael Troyan, who prosecutors say is the ringleader of a multimillion-dollar scheme involving at least 20 co-conspirators.
Bender, 52, allegedly bought narcotics from Troyan and resold them to dealers on the street in exchange for money and steroids, prosecutors said.
He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to sell narcotics on November 24 and immediately resigned his position on the Southampton Town Board.
Local residents had hailed the election of Bender, a Northampton resident and former president of the Flanders-Riverside-Northampton Community Association, as a rare opportunity to have a local voice in town government — something that the hamlets in the northwest corner of the town hoped would bring more resources to their community, which is plagued by poverty and crime.
Southampton Town does not have council districts, so each of the town board seats are “at-large” positions.
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