East Hampton Town Attorney Michael Sendlenski announced that he is stepping down to enter private practice, effective May 3. John Jilnicki, longtime attorney with the town, who has also previously served as the town’s lead attorney, will fill the role until a new candidate for the job is approved by the town board.
Sendlenski said in a press release Monday, April 1, that, while there is a petition being circulated by friends and supporters to nominate him for the post of Suffolk County Family Court Justice, his immediate focus is to continue as an attorney, but in the private sector. He called the petition a “humbling honor,” adding that his desire is to go into private practice
after almost 20 years of public service.
“The challenge of building something from the ground up,” he said of the idea of opening his own law office, combined “with the potential to better provide for the financial needs of my family, is really appealing to me at this point in my career and life.”
Sendlenski joined the East Hampton Town Attorney’s office when Elizabeth Vail was lead attorney in 2013. Sendlenski, a Southampton native, had worked alongside Vail as assistant town attorney in Southampton for seven years. He was named lead attorney for the Town of East Hampton in January 2016.
As lead litigator for East Hampton, Sendlenski has stressed achieving compliance from defendants when prosecuting town zoning law violations.
Recently, during a town board meeting, Sendlenski had an argument with Councilman Jeffrey Bragman in which he threatened to resign. The dispute was over a settlement deal the town had struck with Marc Rowan, the owner of Duryea’s, over three separate suits he had brought against the town.
“I’ve indulged my interest in working in government for almost 20 years,” Sendlenski said.
During Sendlenski’s tenure in East Hampton Town, first as assistant town attorney, then as head of the office, the town has seen a significant decline in code enforcement and quality of life violations.
“Michael Sendlenski has guided the town board through numerous complex and challenging legal situations, and his advice and leadership have been important and much appreciated,” East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said Monday. “I wish him the best as he leaves East Hampton Town to seek new and different career opportunities.”