Peter Van Scoyoc and Manny Vilar
Peter Van Scoyoc and Manny Vilar

East Hampton Town Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc, a Democrat, announced April 3 that he plans to run for East Hampton Town Supervisor this November, after current Supervisor Larry Cantwell announced this winter that he did not plan to run for re-election.

The East Hampton Town Democrats will likely hold their formal nominating convention in early May at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Amagansett, according to East Hampton Democratic Committee Vice-Chair Betty Mazur.

On Friday, April 7, East Hampton Town Republicans formally announced the nomination of Manny Vilar of Springs, a State Parks Police Sergeant and vice president of the New York Park Police Sergeants Association, as their candidate for East Hampton Town Supervisor.

Mr. Vilar has been the presumptive Republican nominee for supervisor for more than a month, after he was the only candidate to screen for the position.

The Republicans also announced former EPA Radiation and Indoor Air New York Branch Chief Paul Giardina and former East Hampton Village Police Chief Jerry Larsen, a registered Independence Party member, will be their candidates for town board. 

Mr. Larsen retired from the village police force at the end of 2016, and his wife, Lisa Larsen, ran unsuccessfully for town board in 2015.

Incumbent Councilman Fred Overton, who served as a Republican and is an Independence Party member, also announced this past winter that he will not seek re-election, which leaves just one incumbent, first term Democratic Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, seeking to keep her seat.

Springs resident Zachary Cohen, who came just 15 votes short in his run on the Democratic ticket for supervisor in 2011, announced April 4 that he plans to seek a seat on the board. 

Mr. Cohen is currently chair of the Town’s Nature Preserve Committee and the designated representative for environmental advocacy groups on Suffolk County’s Tick Control Advisory Committee.

“I am committed to community preservation in the fullest sense of its meaning. We are more than a summer resort and a beautiful physical environment.  We are and always have been a tightly-knit community of hard-working neighbors who have open, caring hearts,” said Mr. Cohen in the announcement of his candidacy. 

Mr. Vilar helped to create the Police Benevolent Association of New York State, a union that represents forest rangers, park police, university police and DEC environmental conservation police officers, and frequently travels to Albany to lobby on behalf of the union.

Mr. Van Scoyoc, a Democrat, took his seat on the board in 2012 during the tumultuous administration of former Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, a Republican who undertook severe austerity measures after the disastrous accounting practices under former Democratic Supervisor Bill McGintee. 

For the following two years, Mr. Van Scoyoc was a supporter of environmental initiatives at a time when such a position was in the minority on the board.

Once Democrats took the majority with Mr. Cantwell’s election in 2013, Mr. Van Scoyoc said he’s worked with his colleagues to restore the community’s trust in the board.

“Over the past three years, the town board has worked together listening carefully to the people we serve and has restored dignity and respect to the process of local government,” he said. “Continuing a strong sense of openness and cooperation is paramount to producing effective government, an important dynamic that was sorely lacking before the current Town Board took office, and that is clearly missing in Washington today.”


Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at

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