Two long-tenured commissioners for the Port Washington Police Department and water district will face off against their respective challengers at a debate next week.
The debate will be held at the Port Washington Library on Tuesday, Nov. 27, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Port Water District Commissioner David Brackett will face off against Peter Whitcomb, while Port Police Department Commissioner Angela Lawlor Mullins will take on Stephen Scott. The event is hosted by the League of Women Voters of Port Washington-Manhasset.
The election for both positions will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Mullins is currently the longest-tenured of the Police Department’s three commissioners, having been voted into office in 2010. Originally from the Bronx, she spent several years as a New York City police detective before moving to Port Washington in 1997.
Mullins said she was dedicated to safety, particularly the safety of Port Washington students.
“We have active shooter drills that we do with adjoining police districts. We are also in coordination with Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder; he devised different safety methods and policies that involve notifications that ensure an immediate response from the department in an emergency,” she said.
She also portrayed herself as a steady hand who could guide the department through a number of upcoming challenges: negotiating a deal with the police union, dealing with the imminent retirement of Chief James Salerno, and moving the department out of its outdated facility to an improved space.
“I welcome the opportunity to do something for the community and for law enforcement and to try and make a difference,” she said.
Scott, her challenger, on the other hand, believes the commissioners need a shake-up.
“There need to be changes,” said Scott, who was born in Baldwin but has lived in Port Washington with his wife and six children for the last 22 years. “The same people in the same places, it just gets stale.”
Scott touted his extensive background in policing. He is currently working as a peace officer for the Pilgrim Psychiatric Center and general topics and defensive tactics instructor for the state Division of Criminal Justice Services. He previously worked for Homeland Security.
Scott said his previous experience in construction taught him how to work with unions.
He said he would make the department more transparent, namely on its decision on a new headquarters.
For the Port Washington Water District, Brackett is the longest-serving of the three commissioners, having held the position since 1992. Under his guidance, the water district recently replaced a large water tank on Beacon Hill. Efforts to reach him were unavailing.
Whitcomb did not have any complaints about Brackett’s tenure. Born and raised in Port Washington, he spent several years working for the Ford Motor Co. before moving on to working with the water district.
“I found it interesting, what has to take place in order for the residents to get a good caliber of water,” he said.
After several years with the district, Whitcomb said that he is running for commissioner as a way “to stay involved.” He said he has no criticism of the commissioners or superintendent, who he said have done a superb job.
“I don’t have anything against the commissioners there, it’s just about me staying involved,” he said.
Reach reporter Luke Torrance by email at [email protected], by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 214, or follow him on Twitter @LukeATorrance.