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A Rose May Always Be A Rose, But Councilman Will Also Be Councilwoman

Originally Posted: January 07, 2009

Kelly Carroll

  |   5 Comments · Print Article

For the first time in history, the Southampton Town Board is made up of four females and one male council member. The councilwomen here hold plaques identifying them as town councilmen, an oversight of changing times. Photos by Kelly Carroll

Southampton - In her first act as a Southampton Town Board member, the newly elected Sally Pope made a pitch to change her title - from councilman to councilwoman. "It was with great surprise that I found out I was actually running for the position of 'councilman,'" Pope recalled, referring to her recent campaign.

According to a resolution sponsored by Town Supervisor Linda Kabot regarding the change, the term councilman appears as the position's formal title on both voting and absentee ballots, as well as on the official certificates of election given to race winners by the Board of Elections.

"At least the certificates could say something other than councilman," asserted Kabot, who, along with Pope and Councilwomen Anna Throne-Holst and Nancy Graboski, hold a certificate bearing that title. The town board would recommend a more "gender-neutral title," such as councilperson or council member, to be "more in keeping with equality issues."

This move to petition the state to make the name change comes at a historic point for the town board. With the addition of Pope, the board now consists of four female council members and only one male, Councilman Christopher Nuzzi, for the first time ever.

"It is a significant and important moment in history," said Nuzzi, when asked how it felt to be the sole male member of the board. The councilman said that he fully supports Pope's suggestion for the name change, adding that it "makes sense."

Town Counciman Chris Nuzzi, pictured here flanked by female board members, said the four female board is something the whole town should be proud of.

By a unanimous vote, the board charged Town Attorney Dan Adams to gather more information on the legalese of the situation, and how to go about presenting it to the proper state and county officials. Copies of the resolution were sent to Gov. David Paterson, State Senator Ken LaValle, and State Assemblyman Fred Thiele, as well as town supervisors in both Suffolk and Nassau counties, the state and county Boards of Election and the League of Women Voters of the Hamptons.

If accepted, the name change will simply be a symbolic one, as the term councilman encompasses both male and female local officials under state law. Until then, the Southampton town board will continue to operate with five councilmen, even if only one of them is male.

"When you're elected to a particular position, you'd think it should be gender appropriate," offered Nuzzi. According to the board member, the historic four-female member board is "something we should be proud of."

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Guest (troubled in SHT) from Westhampton says::
All the problems this town is facing right now and Sally is worried about her title. good job voting her in
Jan 13, 2009 4:00 pm

Guest (The New Guy) from Hampton Bays says::
I don't understand how segregating the suffix of words into male and female gives any power to the feminine cause. The words 'councilman' and 'chairman' in the english language don't carry any male or female designation, the suffix 'man' is only used to associate the word with a human (never written huwoman). The notion that the use of 'man' at the end of words is repressive to the new, liberated woman seems ridiculous and further degrades the feminist cause with petty divisiveness and a limited understanding of the nature of language and meaning.
Jan 12, 2009 1:33 pm

Guest (JOE JOE) from LOCAL BAR says::
RESPONSE TO 'IN NEED OF': that title would be....COUNCILTRANNY.
Jan 12, 2009 10:35 am

Guest (in need of ) from a bail out says::
and i wonder if a transsexual becomes the next council person what would the title be?
Jan 11, 2009 7:55 am

Guest (Bayview) from Southampton says::
I think this is just plain silly! I would think there would be more important things on Ms Pope's agenda than what she should be called. Just mindless!!!! Just watch your back Chris!!!!
Jan 9, 2009 6:40 pm


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