Elaine Phillips resigns as mayor of Flower Hill; McNamara takes reins

Elaine Phillips resigned as the mayor of Flower Hill on Monday following her election to the state Senate. 

Phillips, a Republican, who was re-elected to a third term as mayor in March, defeated Democrat Adam Haber in the race for the 7th District Senate seat vacated by Sen. Jack Martins (R-Old Westbury).

Robert McNamara, the deputy mayor, was sworn in as mayor at Monday’s board meeting. 

“I’m thankful the residents of Flower Hill gave me their trust,” Phillips said. “I had the privilege to serve them as a mayor and now as a new door opens for me to be their state senator in Albany.”

The Board of Trustees, along with local politicians from neighboring villages, Nassau County and the Town of North Hempstead, honored Phillips before Monday’s meeting, presenting her with proclamations and plaques.

“We know we can count on you when working together,” North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said.

“Flower Hill’s loss is all of our gain,” North Hempstead Town Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio said.

Village of Flower Hill Trustee Jay Beber read a resolution, which made Phillips’ resignation and McNamara’s appointment official, and called it “bittersweet.” 

“Elaine epitomized what public service means,” he said. “And Bob is the definition of being involved. He cares about our community and is willing to dedicate his time, interests and efforts to the village.”

Phillips said her goal from the beginning of her tenure as mayor was to make the village more “user-friendly, accessible and transparent.”

 “I was provided with the opportunity to give back to the community,” Phillips said. “I’m so proud of all we’ve accomplished.”

President-elect Donald Trump, a cousin of former Flower Hill Mayor John Walter, who served from 1988 to 1996, sent Phillips a letter, which was read at the reception.

Walter presented Phillips with the letter from Trump.

Although Phillips’ term ends in 2018, McNamara will serve until April 2017. A special election will then be held for mayor during the village’s regular elections.

The mayor elected in April will serve until 2018.

Frank Genese, a member of the village’s planning board, was sworn in to fill McNamara’s seat on the board.

McNamara, who has lived in Flower Hill for 35 years with his wife, Virginia, was born and grew up in Munsey Park. 

Currently retired, McNamara worked in the credit card industry for Citi Bank and then served as group president for First Data Resource, a credit card processing and collecting company.

McNamara said he consulted with companies after retirement.

As a trustee for the last five years and deputy mayor for the past two years, McNamara said, he conducts village work with a “hands on” approach.

“I’d like to stay on the course that Elaine has established,” he said. “But I want to continue working hands on with the trustees and the residents to make this the best village to live in New York State.”

McNamara said he’s been able to apply his business experience, working with people on village issues.

“It’s the same thing,” he said. “I’m working together with residents to make things work smoothly, and to make changes.’’ 

McNamara said he will serve as mayor until April and then run for re-election to finish Phillips’ term, and “then go from there.”

When Phillips asked him to serve as a trustee five years ago, McNamara said, he never imagined one day being the mayor.

“I actually always felt sorry for the person who was going to replace her,” he said. “She did a superb job and was so involved in every aspect of the village. I would come out of my house at 6 a.m. and she would be riding by in the snowplow just to make sure the streets were being plowed. It’s unbelievable how hard she worked.”

McNamara said he’s going to transition his hands-on approach into the mayoral role.

“I’m going to communicate with the residents,” he said. “We’re going to be productive and at the end of the day, I want to hear from people. I want their thoughts on village issues so we can do something.”

By Stephen Romano

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Stephen Romano

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