Marcus Christ Hall, adjacent to New Hyde Park Village Hall, was packed as the re-elected New Hyde Park Village officials along with village justice Christopher Devane were all sworn in for a second term.
Devane was given the oath of office by Judge Robert Morici, a former village justice who is now a Nassau County court judge. Judge Devane then took over and did the swearing-in honors for the rest of the officials. However, not before saying a few words of thanks to the gathered group. Judge Devane repeated over and over again how very honored he is to be given an opportunity to serve as justice in the Village of New Hyde Park. He said he always tells people that New Hyde Park is the 'crown jewel of Nassau County.' He said, "I am honored to live here and I am honored that my parents bought a home here and raised me here. It's a great place to live because of everybody in this room who has taken the time to build this community."
Re-elected trustee Donald Barbieri was then sworn in by Judge Devane. He said, "I, too, am a lifetime resident of New Hyde Park. I went to the schools here, played little league here and I am very proud to stay in the community that I truly love. But, I want to ask you a favor. The audience we have here tonight we need to see more often at village meetings and other events. We need your input. I hope you feel comfortable. Just knock on my door and I'd be happy to talk to you.
"For the last four years we have been working very hard working on a downtown revitalization plan and we are very close to signing a contract. Rebuilding the downtown of New Hyde Park will involve lighting, benches, receptacles and paving. That will be the first step in trying to form a more walkable, pedestrian New Hyde Park. Something that we have been collectively working on for the past four years. Thank you for giving me four more years to work on this project. My family is here and it's easy to get going on their behalf. Thank you all."
Lofaro added, "You know as I walked into the hall tonight I noticed all the flags in the front here and how they related to all that Trustee Barbieri and has done for us. The green flag is from Town of North Hempstead and Donald got $250,000 from them; the orange flag is the County of Nassau and he got $100,000 and secured nearly a million dollars in block grants from them; the United States flag at the end represents the federal government and Donald received $2 million from them. The yellow flag is the flag of the Town of Hempstead and Donald, you have four more years to work on them."
Trustee Lawrence Montreuil was the next to be installed. He started off his remarks by thanking his family. He said the many nights he is not at home he is at village hall which is hard. He also thanked the board members for their tireless work in the village. They meet every Tuesday, night, two times a month for a public meeting and two times a month for a work session. He thanked the village employees for all they do everyday. He said that the work of the village could not be done without the help of the volunteers on the various committees associated with running the village.
He said, "Four years ago we had a vision for downtown New Hyde Park. We wanted it to be similar to Franklin Avenue in Garden City and now that vision is becoming a reality. Just as we have seen the railroad station vision became a reality and the repair of the many roads over the years came to fruition. Plus, the work we are doing on the Master Plan which is also a collaborative effort. All these projects will keep the village growing. Thank you very much for the opportunity to serve you for another four years."
Village Mayor Daniel Petruccio was the last to be installed. He said, "We are all a little grayer and a little wiser than we were four years ago. There is a very thin line between human emotions and humility. It's a good thing to be proud of your accomplishments to a point, but always remain humble and know that the ability you have to do what you do comes from a higher source. You are an instrument of something greater than yourself. (Mayor Petruccio is a professor at Chaminade.) That is what we try to teach humility and pride. We have been given a challenge to come back and in the next four years to do an even better job. We had a tremendous list that we called a 'wish list'. But we have accomplished a lot of what was on that list. We all have a tremendous sense of responsibility when it comes to spending the money in the budget and if we don't take it seriously then we are in the wrong business. It is not a glamour job by any means and we are certainly not in it for the money.
"It gave me a great sense of accomplishment to sit in the Road School at the meeting with County Executive Souzzi. What a difference seven or eight years makes. At that time 3,500 people signed a petition to dissolve the village. Now at the Road School meeting the residents of the unincorporated of New Hyde Park were lamenting that they don't live in the village. That gives me a tremendous sense of pride for our village. I see great things happening in the village especially with the crafting of the Master Plan. I'm very excited about that. We are going to make some major changes to village hall. We are going to put an elevator lift to the second floor and so that everyone can use the beautiful William Gill Theater either for Friday night movies for the youth in the village, or to have shows again on that beautiful stage. This is very important."
The mayor then thanked the community for his re-election to office for another four years.
The keynote speaker Nassau County Legislator Richard Nicolello was introduced by Deputy Mayor Robert Lofaro who said even though he is not a village resident he is a very good friend of the village. He added, "He lives about six houses outside of village, but we won't hold that against him. In fact when County Executive Thomas Souzzi came to speak at the New Hyde Park Road School he was the first person to stand up on behalf of New Hyde Park and we are very grateful for that and for all that he does for this community."
Legislator Nicolello came to the mike and said, "You know tonight all the villages that held elections are doing exactly what this village is doing. They are installing the officials who were elected and this is how it works. One elected government follows another. I bring that up because half-way around the world in Iraq their assembly is meeting for the very first time and they are meeting because people were willing to go out and risk their lives in order to cast a ballot. They are trying to form an element of democracy in people that don't have the background that we do. So I think as we watch our village officials being installed I think it is important that we not take these procedures for granted. It is at the heart of our democracy and as an American it's really great to be a witness to this. A couple of weeks ago there was an article in Newsday. They got some things right and some things wrong but what I thought was significant is that it talked about two families who came here from different parts of the Metropolitan area. Brooklyn and Queens and how they were willing to pay some $400,000 for a house and how they looked forward to being a part of this community.
"When people look at us they look at a lot of different things. They look at our suburban quality of life. The trees that line our boulevards; the lawns in front of our houses and the fact that our houses are not on top of one another; it's the people tho live in the community that go out in a snowstorm to shovel the walks of our neighbors; it is our great schools and the fact that Nassau County remains a very safe place to live. It's important to think about those things because today you hear a lot of negativity. You hear about Roslyn School scandal and you see the dysfunction in government on all levels, but it's important that we focus in on what works and government, here in the village, works.
"The people here in the village do the hard, unglamorous work, day by day. They take care of the complaints the neighbors are making. Making the hard decisions that won't necessarily make people happy. They also have a great vision for this area and what will become of this downtown. We talk about developments, we talk about the HUB, but what supports this community and every community is the downtown. If you don't have an active business district and that tax base dries up you have problems that ripple through the village and through the community. And, this village has a vision. They have a plan. I have observed what they have done. They have gone to every level of government from the state to local government. They have been tireless in their pursuit and great things are on the way. They are going to transform this main street of New Hyde Park Village. While they are doing the basic things of government they are also making sure that the future of our area is taken care of. Godspeed to all of you. It is a privilege to work with all of you and keep up the good work."
Deputy Mayor Lofaro thanked Nicolello and said that the village officials are also very grateful to the men and women who work in the village and who make things run smoothly on a daily basis. He said, "We are very grateful to all of them and I'd like to thank them all."
Mayor Petruccio then announced the very first service awards given to the employees in the village and in recognition each was given a plaque. The following employees received awards:
Dawn Doherty, Joseph Hickey, Sam Horowitz, Gregory Romano, Richard Sharvin
Gerald Effinger, Patricia Anderson.
William Grigorellis, James Hoffman, Charles Jesel, James Kehoe, Armando Scacci
Arthur Klaus, Sean Murphy.
Mark Farina, Ed Kotarski
The evening ended with refreshments served by the members of the Cultural Commission, a volunteer group in the village.