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Four Candidates Vie for Two Trustee Seats

In the Tuesday, March 20 Village of Farmingdale elections there are four candidates running for two four-year term trustee seats. The Farmingdale 2035 Party candidates are: William Barrett, trustee incumbent and Thomas Ryan. The Village Independent Party candidates are: Michael Manchin and Susan Miles.

The Farmingdale Observer asked each candidate to submit a general statement about their candidacy and respond to the same set of questions. Their answers appear here.

William Barrett

Barrett submitted the following:

My wife, Margaret, and I have been Village residents for 34 years and are both graduates of the Farmingdale School District. We plan to always live in the Village and therefore always have a vested interest in the Village. I believe I can work with others to make tomorrow a little bit better than today. I look forward to the opportunity to serve the Farmingdale community for another four years with Ralph, Tom, Pat and Cheryl. Let’s make it happen!

Q: Why do you think you are qualified to serve in this position?

A: I already have four invaluable years of experience as a trustee. For the past 30 years, I have experience auditing local governments. I am a partner in a CPA firm that specializes in auditing or providing special accounting services to local governments. This experience allows me to share my auditing skills with the Mayor, other trustees and Village employees as we adopt and monitor the general, water and other funds budgets.  I am also a team player. I listen and share my opinion with others so together the Village Board can make the most informed decision.

Q: What do you think is the biggest issue facing the Village of Farmingdale?

A: There are several significant issues facing the Village of Farmingdale. That is why this election is so important. 

One main issue is Main Street and our downtown. In my opinion, Main Street can no longer survive without change. Plenty has changed in the last 15 years. We now have cell phones, Internet, personal computers, online shopping and large box stores on the 110 Corridor. Main Street also has to change or adapt as the environment around it changes.

The Village Board, with significant community input, has completed a comprehensive downtown study. The Village has enacted a new downtown code that will ensure controlled growth in our downtown. We now have an overall comprehensive downtown plan to the year 2035 that will not allow developers to overdevelop our Village. 

Presently, we have a proposed development between Elizabeth Street and Secatogue Avenue on South Front Street that is looking to be redeveloped. We also have renderings of another proposed development right on East Main Street between the railroad and Conklin Street.

Another significant issue is the Village water supply. The well at Eastern Parkway will be impacted by 2021 from pollution north of the State park. We also need a new well to deliver water due to increased demand in the next few years. The Village is having serious discussions with two neighboring water suppliers to manage our water system.  These proposals continue to allow the Village to set its own water rates, retain all Village water assets and offer employment to all Village water employees. Village water rates will decrease no matter who supplies the Village water.

Another issue is changing government so it delivers expected services to its constituents at a reasonable cost. The price for everything appears to be always increasing. Your Village Board has to continue to find new, efficient ways to deliver good government to the Village stakeholders.

Q: What changes do you think the residents of Farmingdale want to see made?

A: People want to see a vibrant Main Street and have a general warm feeling about our Village. I recall a friendly Main Street where people shopped locally and acknowledged each other. I remember the Army Navy store, Udall’s, Smiles, Rose Nielsen’s, Von Leesens, Medine’s and George at Mid Island Department Store. These stores existed before the Sunrise Mall and the development of 110.  I believe that similar stores can return to Farmingdale and our new downtown code will foster this revitalization.

Michael Manchin

Manchin submitted the following:

I am a married 30-year resident of the Village of Farmingdale. I am an Army veteran and a highly decorated, retired Nassau County Police Detective Sergeant. I received a B.A. from Adelphi University, and have a small business background. I voluntarily teach religious education at St. Kilian Parish, and have done so for the past 12 years. I am a Farmingdale Kiwanian and serve with the Nassau County Veterans Affairs in transporting disabled vets to various hospital facilities. I, and the V.I.P. (Village Independent Party) have been endorsed by the Nassau County Police P.B.A./S.O.A. and the Nassau County C.S.E.A.

Q: Why do you think you are qualified to serve in this position?

A. Over the course of my lifetime, I have professionally managed and supervised personnel, employee units and various situations in the public and private sector. Using these skills, I will be able to, as a trustee of the village, successfully tackle the many problems facing the village today and in the future.

Q: What do you think is the biggest issue facing the Village of Farmingdale?

A. The biggest issue facing the village is the present economic health of a once vibrant, commercial downtown Main Street. If the condition is left unchecked in such a manner as to cause more business closures, it will eventually lead to a drastic depreciation in residential and commercial property values.

Q: What changes do you think the residents of Farmingdale want to see made?

A. The people of Farmingdale want new leaders who will bring an open and more proactive form of government to the village. The board of trustees, along with the mayor, must be able to act on important village business in a timely manner, rather then relying on costly, repetitive studies that bog down the successful implementation of much needed projects. The ability to coordinate business dealings with present and prospective commercial owners, without any excessive red tape, is imperative.

Susan Miles

Miles submitted the following:

I am a third generation Village resident, full time working mother with over 20 years of international business experience. I am married and I have two children who currently attend Howitt Middle School and a daughter who recently graduated Farmingdale High School. This is an opportunity for me to bring my business experience and skills to a village that needs to be rebuilt and make it a village for families to call home for generations to come.

Q: Why do you think you are qualified to serve in this position?

A. I am qualified for the position of Trustee because I am reliable, hardworking and trustworthy. I am a responsible individual who would look out for the betterment of the community and the people who live here. It is an honor to be part of a team who are devoted to return the Village of Farmingdale to a thriving and prosperous place to live.

Q: What do you think is the biggest issue facing the Village of Farmingdale?

A. One issue facing the Village of Farmingdale is the increase in number of store vacancies on Main Street.

Q: What changes do you think the residents of Farmingdale want to see made?

A. I believe the residents would want to see a Main Street, which offers a variety of family shopping and dining opportunities.

Thomas Ryan

Ryan submitted the following:

I will say to my neighbors, my friends and Farmingdale community that I care for our future. I love my town and anytime I am given the trust and support of either an appointed board position or if I am given the humble honor of serving as your elected representative I will give it my all. My hope is that when I leave it you will all say thank you for being part of a team that made a difference. I am happy to be asked to be part of the team of Ralph, Bill, Pat and Cheryl to continue to improve our town.  

Q: Why do you think you are qualified to serve in this position?

A. As a lifetime Daler with a home and business in Farmingdale I certainly have a sense of the community and an obvious desire to see it thrive. I have owned a business for 24 years and have a great feel for what a budget, a balance sheet, a contract negotiation and RFP process is. When you have to make a payroll for 50 people every week you know about fiscal responsibility. I also look to my past experience serving as the chairman of the board of my industry National Association the American Association of Homecare [sic] in Washington, DC. I served on the legislative and finance committee and was the Treasurer of this multimillion-dollar advocacy association and continue to serve on the board. I am also a board member of the New York Industry (NYMEP) board in Albany also as past chairman and on Finance Committee, currently chairing the Legislative Committee.

My current board of Trustee and finance committee position at St. Joseph Hospital and its predecessor New Island Hospital give me the unique perspective of making difficult decisions in a fiscally challenging healthcare environment with the unwavering community goal of delivering quality healthcare.

Q: What do you think is the biggest issue facing the Village of Farmingdale?

A. The need for fiscal restraint where appropriate to avoid large Village tax increases and at the same time attracting new businesses and residents to improve the tax base. We need to bring Farmingdale Downtown back by attracting the builders to build, the banks to lend and the merchants to set up businesses. The current boards work on the Revitalization program and rezoning does that.  I want to attract young people with reasonable rents and easy commutes to the city in this new building plan. I want our adult children to set up roots in the town and become lifetime Dalers who give to their community. That was the dream of my mom and dad and they were thrilled when my wife Joan and I decided to stay in Farmingdale and raise a family.  

Q: What changes do you think the residents of Farmingdale want to see made?

A. In my discussions with the residents in the time I have made an effort to win their vote it has been pretty much the same issues. It is the quality of life, the community spirit the vibrancy of a town alive and moving forward. They want fair transparent government, which I believe the current board has accomplished. I have heard they want a bakery back. My hope is if we build appropriately they will come.