Current Trustee Cheryl Parisi and challenger Georgiana Sena are vying for the vacant trustee seat left when George Starkie won as mayor last year. Trustee Parisi was appointed by Mayor Starkie to fill that vacancy for one year and there will now be a Special Election to fill that trustee spot. The term is for one year. The election is on Wednesday, March 18. The polls will be opened at Village Hall from noon to 9 p.m. For more information call Village Hall at 249-0093. Candidates appear below in alphabetical order.
Longtime Farmingdale resident and current Village Trustee Cheryl Parisi is a married mother of two and grandmother of two. Her Daler roots run deep.
"My great-grandfather Stephen Jaisle and grandfather Howard Jaisle were charter members of the Farmingdale Fire Department," she said. "Stephen served as a trustee as well."
Parisi, who owns and operates a graphic arts business, is running on the Green Leaf Party Line. She is an active member of the Women's Club of Farmingdale, producing their monthly newsletter and serving on the Ways and Means Committee, the Farmingdale Beautification Committee, the Farmingdale Bethpage Historical Society and St. Luke's Lutheran Church, serving on the 100th Anniversary Committee and the Altar Guild.
As an incumbent trustee, Parisi said she is running because "there is much work to be done."
"We have had a great deal of success applying for residential and commercial grants that are helping our village community," she added.
"Over the past year, I have been involved in three projects: Main Street Rehabilitation through Streetscape funds which will replace street lamps, planters and trash receptacles; Impact Study of Downtown and the Railroad Area Development."
One of her previous campaign promises was to implement an impact study prior to development of Main Street and the railroad area.
"We have just signed a contract to conduct this study - completion to be in six months," Parisi added. "The study will provide us with the information needed to have a Master Plan and identify retail businesses that will thrive on our Village Main Street. I look forward to being able to complete the study, working toward a renewed and thriving downtown area. I will continue overseeing the process until completion."
Parisi has also been involved in the village's Commercial Rehabilitation program, which offers village merchants an opportunity to apply for and obtain grant monies to be used in purchasing awnings, signs and new facades.
"I have a vested interest following this particular program since it will be operating under the guidelines of the Architectural Review Board recently created specifically to develop a more aesthetically pleasing downtown environment," she added.
Her goals include the revitalization of the entire community, including pursuing additional funds for green space, as well as residential and commercial rehabilitation programs.
"Facing the economic crisis has taken precedence over other concerns," Parisi added. "As a village trustee it is my responsibility to address their concerns, take the necessary measures in reducing their tax burden and to give my time and energy towards a positive transformation of our village environment. We have begun a reassessment of the village, which when completed, will help our residents by keeping the commercial tax grievances on the commercial side of our tax rolls, forcing commercial properties to pick up the decrease in the commercial tax base. The financial crisis has reaffirmed the necessity to safeguard our community, scrutinizing every voucher. We will continue to put every project out to bid and make unequivocal certainty that the village is receiving the best quality at the best available price. We will move forward maintaining village operations with the utmost financial integrity."
Parisi said she is focusing her campaign on "maintaining a productive village community environment where our families and friends are reassured that I and the board continue to place their interests in the forefront of every decision we make."
A 10-year Farmingdale Village resident, Georgiana Sena is the daughter of NYC Fire Department Captain George J. Sena, one of the originators of the New York Heart Bill, and Anne Sena, a Line of Duty Widow.
"My sense of duty and public service was a way of life," she said.
A paralegal and office administrator, Sena is running on the Village Independent Party. She is an active participant in the Concerned Citizens Association of Farmingdale, Long Island Cares, Inc., The Harry Chapin Food Bank, WLIW Channel 21 Public Television and the Pediatric Trauma Center Foundation at North Shore University Hospital. Sena is a Distinguished Past President of Kiwanis and board member of Baby Safe Haven.
According to Sena, she decided to step into the public arena for many reasons.
"Most importantly, I believe the people of this village deserve an independent person as trustee and not merely an appointed appendage of the mayor," she added. "As I do not have any affiliation with any other political party on the board, I will truly give independent oversight to the board and will hold no allegiance to the mayor. It is vital that the trustee position be filled by a competent, caring and qualified individual detached from the Green Leaf Party so that the village residents have an independent check and balance on the village board. I know I am the best suited for that job. "
Sena is focusing her campaign on restoring "fair and balanced code enforcement to our village."
"Ticketing of people who are shopping on Main Street is out of control," she said. "It does not make sense to excessively ticket customers in the parking lots who are supporting our local merchants."
Sena said she wants to "cut government waste of tax dollars, starting with health benefits costs."
"Lifetime health benefit costs have to be reasonably addressed," she added.
Sena added that the "enforcement of unlawful contractor pickups and dangerous illegal housing by absentee landlords has been drastically reduced."
"There has been only one prosecution for illegal housing during this administration," she said.
Sena provided the Observer with a Feb. 9 Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) document signed by Village Administrator Dave Smollett, stating that there were two illegal housing cases prosecuted in 2008 - one on Jan. 2, 2008 and the other on Aug. 20, 2008. The disposition of the first case was dismissed with payment of fines and the second was found guilty with a fine, according to the document.
When contacted by the Observer regarding the number of prosecutions, Village Administrator Dave Smollett stated, "Since the beginning of the Starkie administration, April 7, 2008, the Farmingdale Justice Courts adjudicated 16 illegal apartment cases. They had started out earlier than 2008 but officially got adjudicated in 2008. They went through the court system and were found guilty or pleaded or whatever may be, in the Starkie administration."
Regarding the two cases listed in the FOIL document, Smollett stated, "these were the number of illegal housing cases that began the prosecution process, didn't go through the whole process but were finalized with adjudication."
If elected, Sena said she would strongly advocate for quality of life issues for the village.
"I want fair and balanced code enforcement upholding the laws that are on our books for prosecuting absentee landlords," she added. "Housing code enforcement is a vital necessity for protecting our property values and ensuring the safety of the residents in our village."
Sena said she is also a strong proponent of the first responders of our village who volunteer their time in service to our community and I will vigorously support their efforts."
Tackling the empty storefronts on Main Street is another issue Sena said she would pay attention to.
"More stores have closed since this administration took office last year," she said. "I am greatly concerned in keeping our merchants on Main Street. I intend to meet with all of the merchants so they know I support them and they have an advocate in the administration. This should be done before it is too late and more stores are forced to close."
Sena said she would fight to preserve the integrity of the Farmingdale Village community and represent the interests of all the residents.
"I am determined to implement the changes needed to improve our village, one that is rich in history, adorned with natural beauty and enhanced by the diversity of its neighborhood," she added. "When I moved here years ago I fell in love with the small town feel of the Village Green and Main Street, and to be surrounded by a park-like atmosphere of the golf course and campus life."