When Mayor David Nyce took office in 2006, he was guided by his fascination with the village's history and utilities department to make a positive mark on the village.
Nyce spent his early years in Pennsylvania before his family moved to Princeton, N.J., when he was about 10. Though he did not have the money to complete college, Nyce learned carpentry from his father. As he moved around the country pursuing a career as a singer/songwriter, his woodworking skills helped him pay the bills. In the 1980s, his band won the Los Angeles area Battle of the Bands and auditioned for Star Search. Not really finding his calling in California, Nyce moved back east.
He wanted to start his own business selling furniture out of a storefront, but money was tight so he started a set design company with a partner in Manhattan. The business was an immediate success, but Nyce said it was stressful. In 2001, he and his wife bought a home in Greenport to get away from the city. After he sold his part of the set design business and moved to Greenport full-time, he and his wife ran the Benton-Nyce Gallery until the economic downturn hit.
Shortly after becoming a full-time resident, he began attending board meetings. When questions were asked about how to pay for the renovation and the village started selling off its assets, Nyce deciced to become involved.
He floated the idea of incremental tax increases over a number of years and people liked his idea. In 2006, a group of people suggested he run for mayor. At the time David Kapell was mayor and Nyce said he assumed he would not be able to win. Despite this Nyce said he wanted to debate Kapell over important issues, particularly the debt and the state of the
When Kapell decided against running, Jamie Mills and Ed Swenson entered the race. Still, Nyce never expected to win. He went to every house in the village and spent $120 on flyers and postage. He informed the village clerk that he wanted a clean election and said he told her he would be checking to make sure the absentees ballots were valid.
“The buzz around town a week before the election was not only was it going to be close, but they said I was going to win,” Nyce said.
After his surprise win, he got to work the next day. Nyce said not only was the infrastructure a mess when he took office, but the internal infrastructure at village hall needed work as well. Describing village hall as “management by one," Nyce said you cannot “run a $9 million company" the way the village was operating at the time. He said the village is getting to the point where proper internal structure and procedures exist.
He said he also wants to see the wastewater treatment and light plant renovations complete. His fascination with the village’s utilities was one of the reasons he ran for mayor in the first place and said he wants to restore them to money-making entities for the village.
“From what I’ve read, this village was at its peak when those utilities were at their peak,” he said.
His tenure is Last year, the mayor met with resistance after he announced the public would no longer be allowed to speak at the work sessions. He said open meetings law does not require a public comment period and the comments made were often just "stirring the pot" and used as a political tool.
Recently, he has come under fire for asking the to turn of its new illuminated sign because it does not conform to the village code. The fire department paid for the sign without taxpayer funds and needed a permit from the zoning board of appeals. The mayor reviewed meeting minutes from the February 2011 work session and said Trustee Mary Bess Phillips told the chief to bring it to the zoning board. The mayor said the village also should have reminded the department to go through the proper channels.
"Ultimately, it's a lack of communication on all sides," Nyce said.
He said he's been honored to participate in the process and does not plan to run after his second term is up.
"All I wanted to do was come in and do the best job I can and move the village in a positive direction," Nyce said.