Written by Joe Rizza Friday, 05 February 2010 00:00
They may be running under different party lines, but both Paul Cusato and Paul Pereira have a mutual respect for each other and are both seeking re-election to serve another two-year term on the Mineola Village Board of Trustees.
Cusato, a longtime and current active member of the Mineola Fire Department, was first elected to the board of trustees in 2004 and was re-elected in 2006 and 2008. He is looking to serve his third consecutive term. “I really enjoy the job. It’s not as bad as I thought being by myself,” said Cusato, referring to the fact that he is the lone member of the minority party. “I can say what I want without offending anybody.”
While Cusato and former trustee Linda Fairgrieve, another member of the Hometown Party, had disagreements with the mayor and the other two trustees on the board in the past over such issues as whether the village should have its own police force, the board has worked well together in recent times. “We do work well together. I enjoy working with [Mayor] Jack [Martins],” he said. “I do have my times when I disagree with him, but I can say what I want to say.”
Pereira, who was elected in 2008 and is looking to serve his second consecutive term, said his first term on the board was a learning experience, but felt he has been an asset to the board. “I think I’ve learned a lot. I have a lot to learn still. I also think that I’ve brought some very positive contributions to the board,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of fun. Most importantly, we’ve continued on the road the village was on already when I got on the board, which is one of fiscal responsibility, one of looking toward the future and one of ensuring that the quality of life we’ve come to enjoy stays while we find new ways of bringing in revenue and keeping taxes down. That is obviously the most important thing.”
Pereira is running under the New Line Party line, which currently holds a 4-1 majority on the board. The party doesn’t plan on running a candidate to challenge Cusato, who is running on the Hometown Party line. Likewise, the Hometown Party doesn’t plan on fielding another candidate.
“I’ve known Paul [Cusato] for a long time and I respect him tremendously. I’m glad he’s continuing to run,” said Pereira.
Said Cusato, “I miss Linda [Fairgrieve] but I also enjoy working with Paul [Pereira]. He’s a smart guy,” said Cusato.
Cusato and Pereira have more in common than their first names; both are graduates of Mineola High School (Pereira in 1989 and Cusato in 1966). In fact, Cusato is one of the founding members of the Mineola High School Alumni Foundation and Pereira is currently a history teacher at the school and the coach of the boy’s soccer team.
The election is Tuesday, March 16.