After eight years of serving the Town of Southampton on the Town Board, Christine Scalera, who faced term limits and could not run for a third, four-year term, will step away from her role at the end of December and into a new, yet familiar, one.

Beginning in January, Ms. Scalera will begin a new endeavor as a deputy town attorney — joining Kathleen Murray, also a deputy town attorney.

Prior to being elected to the board in 2011, Ms. Scalera served as deputy town attorney for the Town of Southampton, a role she took on in 2006.

From 1997 to 2001, she was a councilwoman in the Town of Oyster Bay, where she grew up.

Thursday, December 19, was an emotional day for Ms. Scalera, as it marked her last meeting as a Southampton Town councilwoman. Her fellow board members all shared kind words, with some choking back tears.

Q: Today was your last board meeting — how are you feeling?

I’m sad. Obviously, I’m excited, having been given the opportunity to continue on, but I absolutely love what I do, and I’ve been tearing up all morning, and it’s hard. I’ve been doing this for almost a decade. Time flies so fast, and it’s such an experience of a lifetime.

Q: You were elected to the Town Board in 2011 for a term that began on January 1, 2012.You also served on the board in Oyster Bay 20 years ago.Why did you want to go into politics?

By virtue of the fact that I was an attorney for all of these different municipalities, I really got to see how everything worked, and I found myself a little frustrated with the inability to help in a more direct way and affect policy. That’s where you really see the difference in people’s lives — when you’re working with the policies that everyone is implementing. I really just wanted to have that greater impact and put in policies that I wanted to see happen that affect people more directly.

Q: Is eight years enough time to accomplish what you set out to do when you ran for the board?

That’s a tough one. It was enough to accomplish several things, because obviously I did, but there’s always more that you want to do. Your list doesn’t end. When you check something off … it keeps perpetuating itself.

Q:What were some of your greatest accomplishments during your tenure on the board?

First, the water quality protection fund, before water quality was part of the Community Preservation Fund. I’m really proud of that, because that was one of the first things I did out of the gate. Riverside redevelopment — I love that project, because I felt like I really had an impact on shaping it.

I did the first septic rebate program on the East Coast, I did the first green zone on the East Coast. When I say “I,” I mean I had the support of the board members, which I think is important, because all the things, or most of the things I’ve done, were unanimous. I served as the minority member of the board for most of my time here, so being able to accomplish all of that and getting everybody’s support is something I’m most proud of overall, because I like to work with people. And if it’s the right thing, people will come around, and you’ll find a way to make it happen.

Q: Did you ever feel like you hit a wall with issues, like you could not do enough?

Some things were more challenging than other things. One of the toughest things … in terms of controversy or challenging, the Sustainability 400 plan was a huge challenge and was very controversial and took a long time to work through, but ultimately we did. I can honestly say I don’t think there was anything that I worked on … that we didn’t ultimately stick with and work through. You never let perfect get in the way of good.

Q: What are you going to miss the most about serving the town as a board member?

The people. I’m hoping I’ll still have interaction with the community, and I expect on some level I will. But just being able to spearhead different projects or initiatives — like when you have ideas for projects you want to start, or being able to start a community event and go out and meet people and work with people on the outside — is something I’ll miss a lot.

Q: Rick Martel will be the only Republican on the board. Have you given him any advice on how to handle being the minority member of the board?

I make it a habit not to give advice unless I’m asked. People have faith that he will do a good job, and I’m sure he will. I’m sure he’ll have his way of doing things. I’m sure that he has seen … we’re a board that works together, and I’m sure that he, too, will want that kind of relationship with his fellow board members. … Everyone’s best interest is served when the people serving the town make that their primary concern. I’m sure he’ll do the same.

Q: Some people were deflated when they found out you would not run for town supervisor this year. Is this the end of your political career, or do you think you’ll make a return at some point?

I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have been able to do what I did and be able to serve the public like that. … I also feel fortunate that I was given the opportunity to continue serving the town. That’s really my focus right now.



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