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1919 Agreement Challenged

Residents have mixed reactions to run-off elections

Three Garden City Property Owners’ Associations ran run-off elections on Tuesday, Jan. 29 due to unprecedented challenges by two residents and a current trustee.

Garden City operates under a non-political form of government called the Community Agreement, with origins dating back to 1919. The mayor and board of trustees, as well as members of various boards and commissions, are village residents who are nominated by four POAs (Western, Estates, Central and Eastern) and serve without compensation. This is a typically unchallenged process, though the last two years have resulted in challenges and run-off elections.

Village Clerk Brian Ridgway advised that three simultaneous run-off elections and one made by a sitting trustee was unusual. Ridgway is election officer for village elections annually held in March. This year’s election, for the slate of run-off winners, will be held on March 19.

This year residents residing in the West headed to the polls, for a run-off election, to vote for their mayoral candidate while Estates and Eastern residents voted for their trustee.

Resident Greg Blair challenged trustee John DeMaro, the Estates POA’s nominee, while Francine Ryan ran against Dennis Donnelly, the Eastern POA’s candidate. Sitting trustee Larry Quinn challenged John Watras for mayor. Watras was unanimously nominated by the Western POA.

Residents at polling locations had mixed reactions to the run-off elections.

Voter Maureen Moynihan, of the Western section, found the run-offs an opportunity to come together and be supportive.

“It’s a positive sign for residents to have a desire for these positions and the run-offs allow us to make our own decision.”

Western resident Joan Collins described the run-offs as “democracy in action” and conceded that the village’s Community Agreement is unique.

“It’s good to rock the boat,” shared Collins. “I know both of the Western candidates to be of high character. They are good citizens with different approaches who are committed to volunteerism.”

However, fellow resident, Michael O’Conor felt the run-offs went against the spirit of the way the governing process was set up.

“The POA candidates are tremendously well qualified and a challenge is inappropriate,” added O’Conor.

Jonathan Kashimer, co-commissioner of the Western POA, said the overall feeling of the election was quite positive, describing the polling center as a lively atmosphere.

“I’m proud of the community involvement and excited about our residents’ participation in the process.”

Volunteers, including board of education members Tom Pinou and Barbara Trapasso, came out to lend a hand and support the property associations’ efforts.

Estates resident Barbara McElroy relayed that any opportunity for an open election is healthy but decried the “old guard” system.

“It’s time for the Community Agreement to be challenged for the farce that it is,” said McElroy.

Perhaps that comment holds a grain of truth among residents. The facts are that out of 16,000 registered voters in the village, 1,529 voted in the three run-offs resulting in a 9.5 percent turnout.

News

Residents needed to run

The Garden City East Nominating Committee is seeking residents of the East who are interested in being interviewed for the positions of village mayor, village trustee and school board trustee. These positions are subject to election by all village residents. The village mayoral and trustee terms are for two years beginning on April 6, 2015 and the school board trustee term is for three years beginning on July 1, 2015.

Any resident of the East who is interested in being considered for one of these positions must submit a letter of intent and a resume. This submission should note the position being sought; include their name, contact information, a statement explaining their reason for interest in the position, a summary of their professional background and other qualifications, including, although not required, current or prior involvement in village or school board positions or initiatives.

Donald Barrick, Life’s WORC Board Chairman announced that Janet Koch has been hired as the new Executive Director of Life’s WORC, a Garden City-based 501(c) (3) not-for-profit corporation. Koch assumes this leadership responsibility as Peter Smergut retires after 20 years in this position. After a thorough and extensive executive search process, the Life’s WORC Board is confident Koch has the vision and skills consistent with the needs of the organization. She will assume her position as executive director on Monday, Nov. 3.


Sports

High School Jazz Class Added To Dance Conservatory

Dance Conservatory Director Felicia Lovaglio has decided to add a jazz class for students in 9th through 12th grades who are residents of the Incorporated Village of Garden City. This 55-minute class will be held on Saturdays at 4 p.m. beginning on Saturday, Nov. 8. The cost of this 20-week class will be $200. Preregistration is necessary by visiting the recreation and parks office at 108 Rockaway Ave.

Adult Dance Performance Group Now Registering

The recreation and parks department offers an adult dance group that works on jazz and contemporary moves and leads up to a performance in a Dance Company Showcase. Whether you are a beginner dance student or someone who danced as a child and would like to try again, this program will help you achieve your goals. Classes will be held on Saturday mornings beginning Saturday, Nov. 8. Each class is 55 minutes long and the session will run through May. The cost of this program will be $220.  

Reminder

With the fall sports season upon us, the department of recreation and parks would like to remind all residents that pets are not allowed in any neighborhood parks, Community Park, or St. Paul’s fields. Non compliance with this rule will result in the issuance of appearance tickets.

Register For The Online Registration Option

Garden City’s Department of Recreation and Parks will offer the option of online registration with credit card payment beginning with its winter programs in early December.

In order for a family to use the online registration option, the family will first need to visit the recreation and parks office at 108 Rockaway Ave. to verify residency and their family information and receive their password.  A list of instructions as to how to use the website will be included.


Calendar

 Murder, Madness & Poe

Thursday, October 30

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, November 3

Manhasset Comes To Garden City

Through November 25



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com