Three seek Floral Park seats as mayor ends tenure

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Three seek Floral Park seats as mayor ends tenure
Floral Park Trustee Dominick Longobardi.. (Photo from fpcitizensparty.com)

Floral Park’s village Board of Trustees will see a shift this spring as Mayor Thomas Tweedy ends his third and final term.

Dominick Longobardi, the board’s most senior trustee, is running to replace Tweedy in the March 21 village election alongside two other candidates for board seats nominated by the Citizens Party, to which all current trustees belong.

The slate also includes Frank Chiara, a 17-year village resident, who is seeking Longobardi’s open seat, and Trustee Lynn Pombonyo, a former Floral Park-Bellerose school district superintendent running for a second full term.

Longobardi, first elected a trustee in 2009, said his 27-year career as a Town of Hempstead employee has given him an insight into government work that would help him at the helm of the village.

“I know what it means to do this,” said Longobardi, a deputy town comptroller. “I know what it means to be in charge of the money, the tax money that these people pay and how precious that is.”

Tweedy, a construction engineer, ran for and won a third term in 2015 to oversee the completion that year of the village’s $6.5 million pool renovation, saying it would be his last.

He has helped lead the village’s fights against the Long Island Rail Road’s proposed third track and a proposed video casino at Belmont Park racetrack. The latter plan was shelved last April.

Tweedy has confirmed he will not seek re-election, but he declined to discuss the election Friday, the day after the death of his father, James E. Tweedy, at age 86.

Tweedy, who has faced criticism from some civic leaders and residents, would admit his decisions were not always popular, but he “lived and breathed this village,” Longobardi said. “He did everything he could to protect it. He did everything he could to improve it.”

Pombonyo was appointed a trustee in November 2014 after then-Trustee Mary-Grace Tomecki resigned and won her first full two-year term in March 2015.

Pombonyo worked for the Floral Park-Bellrose school district for eight years, including seven as superintendent, before retiring in 2012.

Chiara could not be reached for an interview Friday, but his Citizens Party biography says he is a longtime coach with the Floral Park Indians, a youth sports club, and a member of the West End and South Side civic associations.

Chiara has worked in the Bronx district attorney’s office for more than 30 years and currently oversees a staff of 45 investigators as a chief detective investigator.

Longobardi and Pombonyo’s families have roots in Floral Park.

Pombonyo’s grandparents and great-grandparents lived in the village. Longobardi’s family has lived there since the early 1960s, and his uncle, Frank Lauria, is a former mayor.

Both trustees touted the board’s work against the third track and the casino, both of which involved productive collaboration with residents and civic leaders despite some disagreements, they said.

“That people are really working together with largely a similar focus and similar goals is really a great community effort, a great community drive to be a part of,” Pombonyo said.

So far no other candidates have expressed interest in any of the seats, Longobardi and Pombonyo said.

Candidates have until Feb. 14 to file a petition with 100 signatures from village residents backing their run.

Contested races in recent years have only come when major issues have divided the village, Longobardi said, but he does not feel to the mayor’s seat.

Everybody says, ‘Oh, you’re the next mayor,’” he said. “No, I’m not. I have to win an election.”

If elected, Chiara would be the second new trustee on the board in two years.

Trustee Archie Cheng was appointed last January following the death of Deputy Mayor Jim Rhatigan and won a full term last March.

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