Flower Hill’s Hirsch sets sights on mayor spot

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Flower Hill Trustee Kate Hirsch, a mayoral candidate in March's election, has filed an ethics complaint in regards to Village Clerk Ronnie Shatzkamer. (Photo courtesy of Kate Hirsch)

Flower Hill Trustee Kate Maguire Hirsch is seeking to present a “different set of leaders” in the village where she has lived for 20 years.

Hirsch, who was appointed to the Board of Trustees in October 2016 and won a full term in 2018, is running for mayor of Flower Hill and has introduced residents Jay Silverman, Jeffrey Greilsheimer and Diane Turner as part of her Liberty Party slate for March’s election.

The slate will go up against current Trustees Randall Rosenbaum and Gary Lewandowski, running to retain their seats, and Deputy Mayor Brian Herrington for mayor. The current mayor, Robert McNamara, is running for a trustee seat.

“I love the village,” Hirsch said in an interview. “We’re all neighbors and residents, and what we’re looking to do is create a community. At the same time people are paying taxes, we have a $4 million budget and decisions are being made as to where the money goes.”

Hirsch said that a more “straightforward” approach is called for in the village.

“My first thing to do as mayor would be, if an issue came up, to ask, what does the law say about this, what can we do, what can’t we do and how should we move forward?” Hirsch said.

One example, Hirsch said, would be the village’s “recurring issue” of its recycling contract with Meadow Carting and “whether or not Meadow Carting is actually recycling our materials they’re picking up.” The trustee said the issue has been going on for months, and that it was suggested the board form a committee to look at it.

“So I pulled the contract,” Hirsch said. “The contract is what governs the relationship between the Village of Flower Hill and Meadow Carting, and the contract allows the village to appoint an inspector to go into the facility and see how it’s being recycled, to get evidence and proof of if they’re recycling or if they aren’t.”

Hirsch also “spearheaded” Flower Hill’s response to ExteNet Systems’ application for 18 cell nodes. The resulting rejection led the infrastructure company to sue the village, a move that Hirsch said was a foregone conclusion.

“We all knew that was coming,” Hirsch said. “But we have a valid objection, they gave too many locations in their application, they asked us to choose and we said, it’s not our choice, it’s your application.”

The trustee said she also objects to the Federal Communications Commission’s rules concerning telecommunications infrastructure that allowed ExteNet to submit the applications.

“I think [the rules] intrude on local control,” Hirsch said. “Whether or not they are unconstitutional, I’m not sure.”

Hirsch noted that “a number of municipalities” had targeted the orders in the 9th Circuit  Court of Appeals.

“It’s long shot for an overturning, but it’s an evolving area of law and so to be involved in that area and try and make a mark on it, make sure that ExteNet is operating within the law is something that every municipality has an obligation to do, and that’s what we did,” Hirsch said.

Hirsch also has an application pending with the FCC to serve on its intergovernmental advisory committee and has received the support of U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) in her efforts.

As for the village’s ever present issues with speeding, Hirsch said she wants to look at the village budget and explore options to increase police presence.

Her working relationship with Herrington has not suffered since both announced their campaigns, Hirsch says.

“I don’t have any animosity toward Brian,” Hirsch said. “I can work with anybody.”

Before her service as a trustee, Hirsch was an executive board member of the Port Washington school district’s Salem Home and School Association and was among the first appointees to the village’s ethics committee by former Mayor Elaine Phillips, whom Hirsch says she met at the Flower Hill Park while each was walking her dog. She also serves as Flower Hill’s representative to the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee.

Professionally, Hirsch works as a medical malpractice attorney at Melville-based health care company Sedgwick for three days a week. She also works part-time in Port Washington doing of-counsel work to a number of legal firms, which she says she would leave if elected mayor.

A native of Old Greenwich, Connecticut, and a first-generation American descended from Irish parents, Hirsch attended the University of Connecticut for her undergraduate and law degrees, and moved to Long Island with her husband, an anesthesiologist at North Shore University Hospital.

Hirsch also said that she would bring a desire to “roll up [her] sleeves, be in the village and do what needs to be done to run it efficiently for residents” if elected.

“I’m in it to make the village a better place,” Hirsch said. “The decisions we make will solely be based on what is best for the residents.”

The Village of Flower Hill’s election will take place on Wednesday, March 18, from noon to 8 p.m. at Village Hall.

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