With the Greenport Village Board election taking place Tuesday -- and three candidates vying for two open seats -- Patch did a Q&A with each candidate. Here, in their own words, they describe their experience, platforms -- and why they believe they are the right candidate to win a trustee seat on the board.
Q: Provide a brief bio.
A: I was born in Greenport and have been a lifelong resident. I am a proud father and grandfather of three who still lives in the town. A college graduate, Vietnam veteran, retired superintendent of utilities for the Village of Greenport and a person who still cares deeply about the future of Greenport.
Q: Can you give a brief summation of your platform and why you decided to run?
A: The reasons I choose to run are the ones put forth in my opening statement at the debate. To bring financial stability back to the village and work to curb the massive debt the current board is accumulating on the backs of the taxpayers. To bring back the century old practice of allowing a free and open question and answer period at all village meetings, a practice ended by the current administration with the blessing of Trustee Phillips. To cut the salaries of elected village officials by 25 percent and end very expensive health benefits, at present $50,000 a year. Is a person who puts in less then 20 hours a month really entitled to that? The total compensation package for these trustees amounts to over $40,000 per year. Pretty good for 240 hours a year.
I pledge to return respect for the public to Village Hall and remind the top administrative officials at Village Hall they work for the taxpayer. I will work to salvage the multi-million capital projects currently over budget and behind schedule from becoming disasters on the wallets of the taxpayers. To show respect and bargain honestly with the people who really make the village work, the day-to-day average village worker.
Q) What do you think are the biggest issues facing Greenport right now? The mismanagement by the current board of village finances. The accumulating debt. The $2.4 million light plant upgrade due for completion last July and currently in a state of chaos and no end in sight. The crumbling condition of our roads, sidewalks and other critical infrastructure. Do we really need to spend $5,000 to tell us what streets need help? We have eyes. When was the last time one of the current trustees visited the light plant or walked our streets? That itself demonstrates the main problem facing the village, poor management.
Q) What do you think of the parking meter discussion? I was the only candidate basically not calling for another study. Hire a seasonal traffic control officer. No more studies.
Q) What do you think about the sale of beer in Mitchell Park? Retail selling of beer in the people's park. The same park parents and grandparents take the kids to ride the 'horsies' (My granddaughters' expression).
Q) What is your stance on health insurance for village board members?
A) Health insurance for part-time trustees. This is a recent phenomenon. The issue here is are you serving because you believe in serving the public or have the public serve you. Sucking $50,000 a year with the chance of $75,000 if one of the other candidates is elected. I can think of far better uses for the hard-earned dollars of the taxpayers.
Q) How do you believe a balance can be maintained between new tourism and business and maintaining the village's history and small-town flavor? On that vein, do you believe outside commercial ventures should be able to utilize the village's fishing docks?
A) We must face the fact we are a tourist-based economy and have been for a while. We need to look for ways as the previous administration did to attract solid businesses such as STIDD systems that fit into the spaces and locations available in our small, built-out village. Offer tax incentives, partnering with Southold Town where space is available. Reducing excessive regulation on both homeowners and businesses. The small town flavor is being maintained by these very people despite the growing interference of government. We need to be people friendly to grow and maintain our charm. We need to have a plan, a simple plan, to maximize the railroad dock usage while being more accommodating to the fisherman. Let them pack out and provide better services to all that use the dock. We can increase revenues from the dock and make everyone happy if we do it right -- we sure haven't done that for the last four years.
Q) What do you think should be done in regard to the lack of reliable public transportation on the North Fork?
A) This is a regional issue and the village needs to become part of the larger group dealing with it. On its own there's little the village can do.
Q) Do you think crime in the village is a problem and if so, what can be done?
A) We can't hide from the fact crime is up in the last four years. Lobbying for more police presence, educating the public on what steps they can take to help, more involvement by our schools along the lines of what's being done with drugs and alcohol awareness. These are some of the things we can do. Battling crime is a community effort.
Q) Why should voters choose you on Election Night?
A) I will never lie to you or treat you the public with disrespect. I will never use my position for personal gain. I will see that your money goes to benefit you, not part time elected officials $50,000 in trustee benefits? If you believe that benefits you, I have a bridge for sale. I have the real world experience to deal with these critical issues facing the village. I don't need a long learning curb or another study or committee like the other candidates.