Munsey Park residents will vote in the only contested Manhasset election on March 20, with one incumbent and three newcomers vying for two at-large trustee seats.
The outlines of the race emerged after the village initially declined to say late last week which candidates had filed to run.
The two seats up for election in Munsey Park are currently occupied by Trustee Jennifer Noone and Deputy Mayor John Lippmann, who were elected in 2014.
Noone said she filed to keep her seat along with Anthony Sabino, a member of the village’s Building Advisory Committee, both under the Residents for a Better Munsey Park Party. Lippmann, however, decided not to seek re-election.
“It was an honor to have been elected to two terms as a Village Trustee,” Lippmann said in an email Tuesday. “After volunteering four years of service, I look forward to pursuing other interests.”
Lippmann, a seven-year resident of Munsey Park, has served on the Manhasset school district’s Citizens’ Advisory Committee for Finance.
Challenging Noone and Sabino are attorneys Brian Dunning and Nathy Yakaitis.
Munsey Park trustees serve two years and are unpaid.
A woman in the village clerk’s office told Blank Slate Media on Friday, three days after the village’s filing deadline of 5 p.m. Feb. 13, that a Freedom of Information Law request would be required to get the list of candidates who had filed to run.
In an email to Blank Slate Media on Saturday, Village Clerk Tara Gibbons, however, said she was out of state on Thursday and Friday and the village was waiting to release names until acceptance-or-declination letters were returned to the village Friday.
Sabino, who said he has never run for public office, has lived in Munsey Park since 1990 with his wife, fellow attorney Mary Jane Catherine Sabino, where the couple has raised their two sons.
“Village government is here to serve you, not the other way around,” Sabino said Tuesday. “If elected, that shall be my driving principle.”
Sabino said if elected, he would work to respect the rights of Munsey Park homeowners, the rights of due process and fairness, and strive to be a member of an open, accountable government.
“Village government must be open to you, accountable, and responsive to your voices,” Sabino said.” I pledge to you that, if elected, I will strive to fulfill those worthy goals.
Previously, Sabino co-founded the law practice Sabino and Sabino in 1995 and has been a semi-finalist or finalist for appointment as a bankruptcy judge or magistrate judge in the local federal courts.
Dunning, who also ran for village justice in 2014 and works for Cohen Tauber Spievack and Wagner in Manhattan, has been a Munsey Park resident for about 16 years and said his campaign stems from the behavior he’s seen from Mayor Frank DeMento and the trustees.
“I’ve been watching closely what goes on in Village Hall more than when I first moved here, and there have been a lot of things I’ve objected to and thought could be handled a lot better,” Dunning said Friday. “They’re really not good at communicating, and unfortunately, that has been the tone of this particular board in its various formats since they took office in 2013. The irony of it is they ran on a platform of being more user-friendly and more transparent, and very much the opposite has been the case.”
If elected, Dunning said, he would try to accelerate the village’s road work schedule, which is currently slated for work on one to two roads per year, based on available funding. Dunning said he would be open to considering a bond issue for the repairs, but likely not a $5 million bond like the village last acquired.
“I definitely would increase communication, both in terms of quality and quantity, and I would also insist on full compliance with the open meetings law at all times,” Dunning said. “We’ve had significant problems with that, whether it’s the overuse of executive session or the failure to post information that’s relevant in time for people to understand and voice concerns about it.
“We need to get away from the us-versus-them mentality that governs with this particular board.”
Yakaitis, a 28-year resident of Munsey Park, said this is her first run for public office, and she is seeking the seat to bring more open meetings to the village.
“This board goes into executive session far too frequently, and there’s not adequate reporting to the public about any decisions reached in those executive sessions,” Yakaitis said. “We’ve had no guidance from them about the tree policy, and we’ve been discussing it at meetings since the summer. Still, there’s no definitive policy. I would like to address those issues right away.”
Yakaitis, who has served as co-president of both Munsey Park Women’s Club and the Manhasset Newcomers’ Club, said she would also be in favor of a smaller bond to repair the village roads.
“I hope to get elected and to put these policies into effect — more open meetings, more accountability in terms of awareness, to get a final tree policy and to start improving the roads and the sidewalks,” Yakaitis said.
Noone, who was given a list of questions on Friday, said she was too busy to provide answers before publication.
John Turano’s term as village justice is also ending, and he is the only judge who has filed to run.
Turano is also running on the Residents for a Better Munsey Park Party ticket.
Turano, who has been a practicing attorney for 48 years, said he was originally appointed to the position in 2004 and has been re-elected every four years since.
In the last four years, Turano said he has worked diligently to improve the structure of court dates in the village, which were originally divided between arraignments at night and trials and hearings during the day.
Now, all court dates are held at 6 p.m. on the first Monday of the month to be more convenient, especially for defendants who need to come after work.
In his next term, Turano said he hopes to continue his mentality of “giving defendants a fair shake.”
“In the course of all those years, I’ve been in courtrooms many times, and I’ve seen how some judges treat litigants with impatience and disrespect,” Turano said. “They are short-tempered with attorneys and defendants, and I always said if I had opportunity to be a judge, I would certainly change that environment — be more respectful and open to listening.”
Residents can cast their ballot at Village Hall at 1777 Northern Blvd.
Attempts to reach DeMento were unavailing.
In the Village of Plandome, Deputy Mayor Ray Herbert and Trustee Andrew Bartels, both running on the Citizens Party line, have filed to run for re-election.
Bartels was appointed to the board in 2011 to finish the term of late Trustee Peter Kenny and was elected to a full two-year term in 2012.
Herbert was first elected in 2002.
Efforts to reach Herbert and Bartels were unavailing.
Voting will take place at Village Hall at 65 South Drive.
Plandome Heights will host the only mayoral election in Manhasset with Mayor Ken Riscica running for re-election as well as Trustees Alvin Solomon, Dianne Sheehan and Silva Ferman.
Riscica was first elected in 2012 after serving two two-year terms as trustee.
Solomon was first elected in 2006, and Ferman was elected in 2004.
Sheehan was elected to her first term in 2016 when former Trustee Lynee Aloia decided against re-election.
Efforts to reach the candidates were unavailing.
In Plandome Manor, Trustees Tony DeSousa and Patricia O’Neill are running unopposed in the March elections.
Efforts to reach DeSousa and O’Neill were unavailing.
Residents can cast their ballot at Village Hall at 55 Manhasset Ave.