Residents of two Port Washington villages will go to the polls next week, with incumbents running unopposed for every position.
This is usually par for the course in Sands Point but is something of a surprise for the Village of Manorhaven, which has held several bitterly contested elections in recent years. Manorhaven Mayor Jim Avena said that the lack of challengers spoke to the quality of work his administration had done in his first term.
“I think it says a lot,” Avena said last month. “I think it says that people are happy with the job we’re doing. I think that’s our report card right there.”
Voting will be held at Manorhaven Village Hall on Tuesday, June 19, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. In addition to Avena, Deputy Mayor Priscilla von Roeschlaub and Trustee Ken Kraft will be up for re-election.
Sands Point will also hold its election on June 19, but from noon to 9 p.m. at the Village Hall located at 26 Tibbits Lane. Two trustees, Peter Forman and Lynn Najman, will be seeking re-election.
In Manorhaven, the fact that the three candidates are running unopposed does not mean the past two years have been free of controversy. A resolution to extend the village’s mayoral term from two years to four sparked outrage among residents, and when put up for a referendum it was soundly defeated. Some residents also took exception to a study to rezone the village’s waterfront property.
But many who live in Manorhaven have said during meetings that the village is being run better than under previous leadership. The three candidates pointed to various improvements to the village — such as refining parking in the winter, improving garbage collection and beautifying the area — as successes of the past two years.
“We’ve been doing a lot of work on curbs and sidewalks, and it has made Manorhaven much more beautiful,” von Roeschlaub said.
Avena, von Roeschlaub and Kraft all said that the Manorhaven trustees’ ability to work together is why they have had a successful two years.
“Our board has worked as one to make many improvements in our village over the last 18 months,” Kraft wrote in a campaign letter.
In neighboring Sands Point, Najman and Forman are the only candidates to retain their seats as trustees. Both ran unopposed in their last election two years ago.
“I think it’s important for citizens to be involved in the day-to-day operations of their local government,” said Najman, who also serves as the village’s building commissioner.
Forman has spent the last decade as the emergency manager for Port Washington and Manhasset. He has served as a trustee for five years and is also the village’s finance and treasury commissioner.
“Some people are civic service minded, and that’s been my nature,” he said of his decision to get involved with the Sands Point government.