Montreuil not seeking re-election, new party eyes open posts

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New Hyde Park Mayor Lawrence Montreuil, right, and Trustee Richard Coppola, left, are not seeking re-election in the March 16 election. (Photo by Tom McCarthy)

New Hyde Park Mayor Lawrence Montreuil said he will not seek re-election in the March 16 village election.

The positions at stake in the election are mayor, two trustees and village judge.

Trustee Richard Coppolla will also not seek re-election but Trustee Richard Pallisco will run, Montreuil said at a meeting of the village Board of Trustees last Thursday.

“Trustee Coppola and I will not be seeking re-election,” Montreuil said. “So keep that on your calendar for March 16.”

Montreuil has served as mayor since April 2017 and his term ends March 31.

The election has a new local political party throwing its hat in the ring with endorsements from a previous village mayor.

Former New Hyde Park Mayor Dan Petruccio, who served from 2001 to 2013, has endorsed the New Hyde Park Unity Party’s slate of candidates.

The candidates are Christopher Devane for mayor, Madhvi Nijjar and Arthur Savarese for the two trustee positions, and Timothy Jones for village judge.

Devane served as a village justice from 2003 to 2021, Nijjar is a 20-year resident of the village who works in the mental health and human services fields, teaching others who aspire to work in the same profession.  Nijjar earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from John Jay College prior to receiving a master’s in social work with a major in psychotherapy from Adelphi University.

Savarese works in marketing and sales and has served on the board for and coached local Little League teams, and Jones is a trial attorney for the Scahill Law Group in Bethpage.

According to the party’s mission statement on its website, it stands for “the principles of an open, honest, diverse and inclusive form of Village government.”

Diane Bentivegna, a village resident and a member of the village’s Long Island Rail Road Task Force, celebrated Petruccio’s endorsement of the Unity Party in a letter to Blank Slate Media.

“Mayor Petruccio’s administration successfully restored the voting public’s confidence in village government during a turbulent time in New Hyde Park’s history,” Bentivegna said.

Bentivegna said she got to know Petruccio when the MTA and LIRR first proposed the third track project.

Petrrucio believed the village needed to judge the merits of the changes being proposed, with a respect for the past, combined with an enthusiasm for what could be, she said.

She also said New Hyde Park is undergoing a decline in its suburban feel.

“New Hyde Park is, in every sense, at a crossroads,” Bentivegna said.

Some of the challenges the village faces include the impacts of the LIRR project, the pandemic and the gradual urbanization of Nassau County, Bentivegna said.

Information about the village election can be found on the village’s website, and the village is offering absentee ballot applications for residents concerned with contracting the virus.

This article has been updated with the correct spelling of Diane Bentivegna’s name and Madhvi Nijjar’s corrected profession and educational background.

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