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Apr 23, 2019 12:12 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Former Police Chief Jerry Larsen To Run For Mayor In East Hampton Village Next Year

Jerry Larsen.    ELIZABETH VESPE
Apr 23, 2019 1:58 PM

Jerry Larsen, a former East Hampton Village Police chief, announced this week that he will run for mayor of East Hampton Village in June 2020 with what is to be called “the NewTown Party.”

Installing term limits, rejuvenating the village’s business district by installing a centralized sewer system, burying power lines on McGuirk and King streets, cleaning public beaches, and updating the village code and comprehensive plan would be priorities if he is elected, Mr. Larsen said on his webpage, jerrylarsenformayor.com, and in an interview at The Press office on Monday.

In recent years, the village has earned the reputation as the “village of no,” Mr. Larsen said. “We need to earn a better reputation of being fair to our employees, tourists and homeowners,” he said. “I want to reverse that reputation.”

The “NewTown” Party name plays on that stance as well as on the village’s Newtown Lane, on which Mr. Larsen, who’s registered with the Independence Party, lives with his wife, Lisa Mulhern Larsen.

Candidates do not run on mainstream political lines like Democrat and Republican in East Hampton Village, and the current mayor, Paul F. Rickenbach Jr., is affiliated with what is called the Hook Mill Party.

Mr. Rickenbach, who has been mayor since 1994, does not plan to run for reelection in 2020, and on Tuesday declined to comment on Mr. Larsen’s planned campaign.

On Monday, Mr. Larsen said that some people may think he is running for the wrong reasons. The former police chief sued East Hampton Village in 2017, alleging that several elected officials had attempted to “stifle competition” and violated the village’s own ethics code by trying to prevent him from running a private security business that competed with work done by other village officials. The case was dismissed in September 2018 on the grounds that the lawsuit had not been filed in a timely manner.

Mr. Larsen maintained on Monday that he does not have any personal issues with the current board members and isn’t running for mayor out of spite.

In 2017, Mr. Larsen began campaigning for a seat on the Town Board on the Republican ticket, but was unsuccessful. He also applied to lead the Southampton Town Police Department in 2016 after the retirement of Police Chief Robert Pearce.

He is currently employed at MacAndrews & Forbes as director of security for The Creeks, the estate owned by Ronald Perelman, and with his wife he founded and operates a family security and property management company, Protec Security.

This week, Mr. Larsen said he plans to announce the two candidates he will be running alongside, seeking to unseat current Village Board members Barbara Borsack and Richard Lawler in June. He explained that he is announcing his own campaign early because he would like to engage other candidates in debates and make it a lively election, as opposed to in the past, when residents weren’t necessarily familiar with those in the running.

“The south-of-the-highway people should have a say in these elections,” Mr. Larsen said, adding that part-time residents contribute a significant portion of taxes to the community. “They’re not here when the campaigning happens. It would be a good opportunity to engage those people as well as the year-round community and have meaningful discussions.”

“I don’t think anyone should be in office for as long as the current board has been there,” said Mr. Larsen, who has known Mr. Rickenbach, Mr. Lawyer and Ms. Borsack for much of his career with the village. “I think people become stale, run out of ideas, and become very comfortable with their positions.”

Mr. Larsen grew up on Buell Lane, moved to Conklin Terrace as a young adult, and currently lives on Newtown Lane. He graduated from East Hampton High School and attended the State University of New York’s Empire State College. He and his wife have six adult children who attended East Hampton High School.

After starting out as a traffic control officer at the age of 18 in 1983, Mr. Larsen was hired as a full-time Village Police officer in 1986, taking on roles as detective, patrol sergeant and lieutenant. In 2003, he became chief of police.

Now 55, Mr. Larsen retired in 2017 after serving on the Village Police force for 34 years. “I miss the people,” he said. “The village employees are a great bunch of people—they work hard for the village. I miss the camaraderie with all of those people.”

This week, he stressed the need for a centralized sewer system to revive the village’s business district. The current board acknowledges that Sag Harbor Village’s system has made it possible to have outdoor dining, and second-floor apartments, but has not moved a similar plan forward.

“When I was a kid, none of these ponds were polluted. Now, almost everything is polluted,” Mr. Larsen said. “We need to get that going,” he said of installing a sewer system. “Not just keep talking about it. I have a plan to put that forward.”

Mr. Larsen said he plans to tackle the need for more parking while adhering to the current comprehensive plan, which states that no additional properties can be turned into parking areas. He said he didn’t want to give his plans away just yet but will elaborate closer to the elections.

The PSEG-Long Island power lines and poles on McGuirk Street and King Street have been of concern to the residents who have said that they’re out of place for the neighborhood. “I want to bring that to the forefront and get those lines buried and get the poles off those streets,” Mr. Larsen said.

He said he agrees with the East Hampton Town Trustees that garbage bins should not be left on the beaches. “The Trustees are absolutely right,” he said. “If you leave the garbage cans full, the animals will come, rip it apart, and then the wind blows it all over, and you have a mess.”

He said he would like to see garbage bins emptied until midnight, or see the trash bins removed completely from the beaches.

In addition, Mr. Larsen said he would like to see the village code updated, as well as the comprehensive plan, which he said was supposed to be updated in 2012. Mr. Larsen said that it’s difficult to find things in the code book, and that certain state laws have changed. The village code hasn’t been updated to comply with certain codes, he said.

Mr. Larsen has been active in East Hampton Little League, serving as a past president. In addition, he is a past president of the Police Association of Suffolk County, a member of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, a retired member of the Suffolk County Police Chiefs, a member of the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the East Hampton Kiwanis Club.

“I’ve been in public service my whole adult life,” he said. “I think I can bring a lot of energy and new ideas to the Village Board.”

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This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By wmdwjr (76), east hampton on Apr 23, 19 10:42 PM
I've known Mr. Larsen for many years even before he started his career in the field of law enforcement. He's served the citizens of the community well and I am excited about the election. I'd like to see new and effective ideas to get East Hampton heading in the right direction. Out with the old and in with the NEW! Mr Larsen has earned my vote!

Jerry Larsen for Mayor!!!!
By John E. Law (1), East Hampton on Apr 24, 19 9:42 AM
1 member liked this comment
Run, Jerry,Run
By Draggerman (924), Southampton on Apr 24, 19 11:41 PM
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