Residents in the villages of Mineola, Williston Park and East Williston will go to the polls on Tuesday for elections that were delayed from March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Village justice races in Mineola and East Williston are the only two that are contested.
In East Williston, Trustee James Lark is running unopposed. He took over the spot left vacant by longtime Trustee and former Mayor Anthony Cassella in October.
Another unopposed trustee candidate, Anthony Gallo, is seeking the seat held by Deputy Mayor Christopher A. Siciliano, who did not seek re-election.
“Trustee Lark has been an incredible asset and resource since his appointment several months ago and Mr. Gallo has been an active member of our community,” East Williston Mayor Bonnie Parente said. “I look forward to working with both of them and appreciate their commitment to the betterment of our village. Especially during a pandemic, having individuals who are willing to put themselves in the forefront is something I cannot and will not take for granted in these two individuals. I feel lucky they are making themselves available for this role.”
Lark said Cassella left “big shoes to fill” as he had been a village public servant in multiple roles. He said he has known the mayor for a number of years and is a “civic-minded and reasonable person who would not take the role lightly.”
Lark said he wanted to continue in this role because a strong mayor, village board and office staff are working toward the same goals.
Gallo is an estimator at VMR Civil and said he decided to run so he can “help the village by utilizing my skill set as an engineer.” He went on to say that he hopes to bring as much value as Siciliano brought to the village.
Joseph Sperber has been village justice since 2008 in East Williston and decided not to seek re-election. Associate village Justice Emil Samuels is one of two candidates running for the spot. He is an attorney with Kelner & Kelner. The other is Mitchell Flachner, who works at Schwartz Sladkus Reich Greenberg Atlas LLP in New York City.
Flachner began his legal career as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn in 1999. He currently does mostly commercial litigation and deals with a lot of landlord-tenant cases. He said he began his career in civil service and has wanted to get back into that and sees this election as his chance.
Flachner said he would like voters to know he possesses the integrity, fairness and compassion to do this job for “a village that I care deeply about.”
Samuels has 30 years of courtroom experience in federal and state courts in human rights cases. He served on the village Board of Zoning Appeals from 2004 to 2008.
“Experience that truly matters comes from those who have faithfully served our village,” Samuels said. “There is no time for a learning curve in local village justice. The most important experience comes from doing.”
Mineola has two trustees up for re-election, Paul Periera and Paul Cusato, both running unopposed. Pereira was first elected to the board in 2008, Cusato in 2004. Both candidates are longtime village residents and graduates of Mineola High School.
Acting village Justice Steve Barnwell was appointed to the position after the death of village Justice John O’Shea in November. He is being challenged for the post by Nassau County Court Judge Scott Fairgrieve.
In Williston Park, two trustees are up for re-election. William Carr and Mike Uttaro both joined the board in 2012 and are each running unopposed.
In East Williston and Williston Park, votes can be cast in the respective village halls. In Mineola, the voting station will be the Village Community Center.