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Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt Dies

Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt died suddenly on the morning of Oct. 3. According to Ed Ward, spokesperson from the legislator’s office, Schmitt, 62, collapsed while in a budget meeting with Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano in the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building and was rushed to Winthrop Hospital. He died at 11:55 a.m.

“Nassau County has lost a dedicated public servant,” said Mangano in a statement. “My wife Linda and I lost a friend of over 20 years. Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt served the residents of Nassau County with great integrity and pride. I had the privilege of serving closely with Peter in the legislature since its creation in 1996, where he distinguished himself as an outspoken advocate for the residents of the 12th Legislative District.”

Schmitt is the only person to ever represent the 12th Legislative District, which encompasses Massapequa and Massapequa Park as well as portions of Seaford and North Massapequa. Local elected officials who have worked with Schmitt expressed shock and sadness at his sudden passing.

“Peter Schmitt was a great friend,” said Congressman Peter King, whose 3rd Congressional District currently includes all of the 12th Legislative District. “I’ve never known anyone who worked, or who fought harder, for his constituents than Peter Schmitt. He was politically incorrect at times, but always honest and always dedicated.”

“We all lost a great friend,” said Massapequa Park Mayor James Altadonna. “I’m going to miss Peter as a friend and Massapequa lost a wonderful advocate for all of us. I am deeply saddened by the loss.”

In addition to serving as legislator representing the 12th Legislative District, Schmitt had been deputy presiding officer, minority leader and since Republicans gained back control of the legislature in the 2009 elections, majority leader and presiding officer. As the leader of the Republicans in the legislature, Schmitt often sparred politically with his Democratic counterparts. However, officials from both sides of the aisle expressed sadness and respect for Schmitt.

“I’ve known this man 17 years,” said Legislator Judy Jacobs, who served as the presiding officer when Democrats held the majority, and Schmitt served as the minority leader. “I just can’t believe it. It’s a sad day. We may have been adversaries on the way we do things in the governmental sphere, but we were always friends on a personal level. My thoughts are with his family at this time.”

“Our entire caucus is shocked and saddened by the passing of Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt,” Kevan Abrahams, the Nassau County Legislature minority leader said in a statement. “He was an iconic leader of our legislature since its inception in 1995. Through his career spent in public service he has left an indelible mark on Nassau County. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Schmitt is survived by his wife Lois, a daughter, Samantha and a grandchild, of whom he often spoke proudly.

Despite Schmitt’s penchant for speaking candidly, Congressman King recalled a man whose private persona was different from his public image.

“Peter and Lois were inseparable,” said King about the relationship between Schmitt and his wife. “In fact, just two weeks ago I had my fundraiser. The two of them were there. They were the first to arrive and the last to leave. They sat quietly at a table. Here he was, one of the top two or three people in Nassau County and if you walked in the room, he was just sitting there, a regular guy.”

According to county sources, the Nassau County charter stipulates that a special election to fill the position of legislator from the 12th District must be held within 30 to 60 days. As the deputy presiding officer, Norma Gonsalves, will fulfill the duties and responsibilities of the presiding officer, but will not officially become the presiding officer unless confirmed by the legislature. With the legislature now split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, it is not known if that will happen. Gonsalves represents the 13th Legislative District, which encompasses East Meadow, Salisbury and North Merrick.

That split could also affect next year’s budget, as the legislature must approve the county budget by Oct. 31.  Because of Schmitt’s death, even if all nine Republican legislators approve it, at least one Democrat must also vote to approve it, in order to get the 10 votes needed to pass. If the budget is not approved, last year’s budget automatically goes into effect.

A wake will be held at Massapequa Funeral Home, south chapel, located at 4980 Merrick Road on Saturday, Oct. 6, and Sunday, Oct. 7 from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. The funeral will be on Monday, Oct. 8 at St. Rose of Lima Church on Merrick Road in Massapequa at 11 a.m.

News

During a recent meeting of the Farmingdale Board of Education, President Shari Bardash-Eivers addressed a controversy that had erupted among parents in the district surrounding comments that were made online about student data mining. Initially proposed as a component of New York State’s Common Core Learning Standards, data mining is used to gather information on students through a company called InBloom. However, the proposal to allow data mining through the use of InBloom was defeated by state lawmakers. 

 

For Eivers, the controversy had come about after she had made comments on social media sites regarding parents who were opposed to student data mining. Many referred to her comments as “insensitive,” for use of the terms “paranoid” and “ignorant” whilst noting that the same parents opposed to data mining seemed to have no qualms about activities such as using Google or their credit cards online—acts which she said carry many of the same risks. 

On April 4, members of the Farmingdale Board of Fire Commissioners appointed three new Chiefs of the Farmingdale Fire Department. After 14 years of service with the department, the newly minted Chief Patrick Tortoso is ambitious about his new title. 

 

“I wouldn’t be here without my members' backing,” Tortoso said.

 

At the ceremony, Frank Romano, ex-Chief of the Farmingdale Fire Department, gave his final rundown of the 997 calls the department handled in 2013, before handing over the proverbial reigns to Tortoso. 

 

“You guys always did a standup job,” Romano said congratulating his commrades. “This has been a rewarding experience.” 


Sports

John Galanoudis of Farmingdale, a junior student at Molloy College, batted .462 for the week with a .562 on-base percentage and a .615 slugging clip to help Molloy to a 3-1 series win over St. Thomas Aquinas. He scored four times, had six hits including two doubles, and drove in three runs. Galanoudis also stole a base and walked once.

 

— Submitted By ECC Sports

 

Erin Donovan of Farmingdale, a sophomore at Farmingdale State College, finished 6th in the High Jump at the St. Joseph’s Invitational competition. Her mark of 4 feet, 8.25 inches moves her to No. 7 on the All-Time list. 

 

— Submitted by the Farmingdale State College Athletics Department


Farmingdale High School’s Lady Dalers have staked an early lead in Nassau County Girl’s Varsity Lacrosse Conference I, after winning each of their last three games this season. Starting the season on the road, the Lady Dalers would open with a non-league victory over Sacred Heart on March 20. The Lady Dalers would go on to win the exhibition match 10-8, thanks to Tara Wahl who scored six goals to put Farmingdale in the lead. On March 22, the Lady Dalers would compete in their first game of the regular season against

South Side High School. During the game Jill Alonso put up two goals and four assists, helping the team to secure its 13-4 road win. 


Calendar

School Board Budget Adoption - April 9

CSEA Training - April 11

Comedy Dinner - April 11


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