East Williston residents Mitchell Flachner and Emil Samuels are running against each other for the village justice position left vacant by Joseph Sperber in the village’s lone contested election.
Sperber was first elected to the village justice position in 2008 in an uncontested election. In 2012, he won his re-election bid over Samuels, who currently serves as the associate village justice.
Samuels said Sperber only recently informed the village he would not seek re-election. Since then, Samuels said he has been going door to door introducing himself to village residents and asking for their support.
“The response has been good so far,” Samuels said in a sitdown interview with Blank Slate Media. “I’m not a very tech-savvy person, and I believe that making a face-to-face impression goes a long way.”
Flachner said he has also been introducing himself in person to East Williston residents during an interview with Blank Slate Media.
“A lot of the friends I have here have introduced me to other residents,” Flachner said. “My election is really going through word of mouth and in-person interactions. People have been extremely welcoming, and have given me insight into the village I did not know prior to meeting them.”
Flachner moved to the village with his wife and three children in 2015. As an attorney with Schwartz Sladkus Reich Greenberg Atlas LLP, Flachner has worked on general litigation and occasionally criminal defense.
Samuels, an East Williston resident since 1999, has almost 30 years of courtroom and trial experience representing human rights in state and federal courts.
He was also acting village justice from 2008 to 2016 and was on the village’s Board of Zoning Appeals from 2004 to 2008.
Despite being an East Williston resident for a shorter amount of time than Samuels, Flachner touted his experience in litigation and his ability to be a fair and impartial face of the village law.
“When I moved here, I knew that this would be a village I wanted to contribute to,” Flachner said. “I have a great deal of respect for this position, and if elected, I would want to hold this role for a significant amount of time and give it the proper attention it requires.”
“In my time as the associate and acting village justice, I know what this job requires,” Samuels said. “I know that there are two sides to every story and will seek to remain impartial and I will balance the best interest of the village and its residents accordingly.”
When asked why they would be the best choice for election, each candidate expressed mutual respect for the other, while touting their experience and abilities during their time practicing law.
“Though my opponent has spent more time in this village and has done enough to remain in his position, sometimes a fresh face is needed to help lead the community going forward,” Flachner said. “I believe my experience as an attorney gives me the necessary knowledge and expertise to be someone the village is proud to call their village justice.
“It’s always great to see other people wishing to contribute to a village where they raise a family,” Samuels said. “I first volunteered at the village’s Memorial Day 5K in 2003, and it began my passion for aiding the community. If I am elected as the village justice, I will be honored to continue that tradition of making East Williston a great place to live.”