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Letter: An Open Letter To The Village Residents

Throughout this time period, most of those who live in the mid-section of Nassau County have witnessed a substantial number of downed trees and power lines.  Obviously this condition, along with the flooding seen across the north and south shore of Nassau County caused a loss of power to approximately 90 percent of the residents and a substantial loss of property and personal belongings.  

Having observed conditions in other communities throughout various parts of the county, I can definitively state that our village was very fortunate in many ways. I know that might be difficult to believe when you were without power for about two weeks, but when you see the devastation caused by flooding and the loss of both personal and real property this condition brings with it, I think you will ultimately agree.

We in the Village of Westbury, I believe, were more fortunate than most communities for several reasons. The first is the quality and dedication of the men and women who work for our village and its residents. Our DPW crews were working double shifts without a day off to ensure that all streets were open and are still working every day to remove the remaining debris from down trees. I cannot say enough about those who work for our village, from the crews who are cutting and removing trees to the staff that was manning Village Hall without power or heat to provide some level of communication and services to our residents.

A special job “well done” goes to our Village Clerk Ted Blach. Ted is the “go-to-guy” for the village and is the person who always gets it done for us. We rely on him heavily as our COO because of his extensive background in municipal government and the proven methods he has constantly displayed.  

As I stated at the last board of trustees meeting, the one person who impressed me the most throughout this crisis is our mayor, Peter Cavallaro. Again as I stated that night, when you are elected as the mayor or as a trustee, there are no classes or instructions given that prepares you for situations such as this. Fortunately we elected a very talented person who used the skills he has accumulated over his career, logic and his good common sense to guide us through this situation. Based on the decisions he made, and Ted executed, streets were opened immediately so that emergency vehicles could pass if necessary, trees were removed expeditiously so that LIPA could access power lines, and he kept in constant communication with the residents, providing them with daily updates as to the village’s progress.  Both he and Ted were in contact daily with LIPA either by telephone or by making trips to the sub-stations to discuss the village’s situation directly with representatives.  

While nothing is ever perfect, it is my opinion that the way our mayor and village personnel responded to this crisis was the result of good leadership and was as close to perfect as possible under some of the most severe conditions imaginable.

The last observation I would like to make is the sense of community that we seem to display when we are in a crisis mode. It is too bad that we as a community don’t display these qualities more often, but nonetheless it is refreshing to see neighbors helping neighbors when the need arises. There were quite a few instances I saw firsthand, and I am sure there are a lot more that actually took place, from the sharing of generators to Reverend Jeffrey Krantz providing free coffee in front of the Church of the Advent to those waiting on a long line for gas at the Hess gas station. Its gestures such as this that makes you proud to be a part of this community.

Steven L. Corte, Village Trustee