Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 25 February 2011 00:00
First, Larry Werther announced that he would not run for mayor in March, but would still run for one of the open trustee seats in the village of Mineola. Now, another incumbent in trustee Thomas Kennedy will not seek re-election.
Kennedy told the Mineola American that he decided not to run because his full-time job is about to become even fuller. He’s been tapped to head a major project at the Manhattan bank he’s employed by. Kennedy felt it would be unfair to the village if he embarked on this venture while not giving Mineola the attention it deserves.
“They’ve asked me to take over the operation regarding the project,” he said. “The time I’m going to have to put in as I was told is astronomical. There’s no way I could give Mineola the time and the effort that is required for that trustee position. The position deserves someone who can make the meetings and the additional items as well.”
Kennedy felt that if he started the term, he wouldn’t have come close in completing it. He stated further that he hopes Mineola continues on the path that it’s taking and that the board proceeds with the fiscal responsibility that it has been for the last decade.
“I hope that the village and the next board continue to prosper,” he said. “I wish them all the best in the world.”
The petition process of running for a village seat requires candidates name a committee to fill vacancies, in that if a candidate cannot run for the seat, three people from their respective party have a certain amount of time to appoint a replacement. That replacement will be Mineola resident George Durham.
Durham has lived in Mineola for his whole life with his wife Donna and their two children Brendan and Shannon. He stated that he’s very excited to run for trustee.
“I think it’s a fantastic choice the party made,” trustee Scott Strauss said. “We’re going to have a good ticket this year.”
Durham interviewed with the committee to fill vacancies recently and said he was encouraged that he would be picked. Durham previously ran for trustee in 2006.
“I interviewed [with them] and they selected me,” he said. “I’m thrilled.”
Durham has been on the community planning committee for the village master plan for six years and was chairman for the downtown revitalization committee. He said he feels the village is going in the right direction in paying down the village debt and believes in the principles the village operates on.
“I hope the village continues its positive development that is so noticeable in the Station Plaza project, the Winston project and the senior housing components that I’ve heard about,” Durham said. “The village is going in the right direction.”
“George is intimately knowledgeable about the ongoing activities in this village,” Strauss stated. “I’ve known him since we were in kindergarten. He’s got a different look at things and he’d bring a lot to the table if elected.”
There are two open trustee seats on the board, one of which Kennedy occupied and Strauss’ seat, as well as the seat of current mayor Larry Werther. Strauss will be running unopposed for the seat of mayor in March.
“When Jack [Martins] ran against Carolyn McCarthy, he asked if I was interested in getting involved in village politics,” Strauss said. “At the time it didn’t interest me that much. But I guess it was like planting a seed and it started to grow in me. This time around, it’s different.”
Werther, newcomer Mustang party candidate Chris Wales and Durham will be running for the open trustee seats. Werther said Kennedy’s insight would be missed.
“People have to do what’s best for their family,” Werther stated. “And to put public service in front of your family is not exactly what someone should be doing. It will be a tremendous loss to the board.”
Werther stated further that his replacement candidate is, “a good guy and I’ve known him for a number of years. He basically knows all the issues of the village. How the next trustee handles himself will be showcased if he wins the seat.”
Candidate Wales found one significant similarity between all the candidates in this year’s election. They were all Scouts.
“I knew George from [Cub] Scouts,” Wales said. “So now it’s me, Larry, George and Scott and the one thing we all have in common is that we were all Scouts. If that’s not a testament to what Scouting can do for you, I don’t know what is. I’m happy for George. He is a very viable candidate. He’s taken my son to a Jets game.
“I consider [George] a friend,” he said. “For me, I’m driven to give service to the village that has given me so much over the last 20 years. Does it put a friendly competition into it? Yes it does. If I win, I’d be honored to work with anyone that’s running.”