Friday, 01 March 2013 00:00
In the Village of Flower Hill four candidates are running for three open trustee positions. Two incumbents, Tab Hauser and Robert McNamara, are both members of the Flower Hill Party. They are being challenged by Eileen Mills, Flower Hill Party, and Roy Nelson, Civic Party.
The Manhasset Press asked each candidate to provide a headshot, a short biography and to answer seven questions that would assist residents of the village in making their decisions. The candidates are listed alphabetically. The election will be held on Tuesday, March 19, from noon to 9 p.m. at the Flower Hill Village Hall, 1 Bonnie Heights Road.
I have lived in Flower Hill for 20 years with my wife of 31 years, Maureen. We have two adult age children who went to Port schools. My degrees includes a BA from Fordham University and an MBA at C.W. Post that I earned while living and working on Long Island. I earned my way to the board of trustees after spending time learning about the village from my position on the Board of Zoning Appeals. It was from there that a previous mayor said that there were good lawyers and architects on the board and wished to bring in people with business experience. Last year I was pleased to be appointed deputy mayor by our new Mayor, Elaine Phillips, based on my previous experience on the board. I take pride that the residents of Flower Hill are pleased with where they live, enjoying their efficient and basic services like good roads, efficient garbage collection and quick snow removal all done without taxes increases.
I am a long time resident of Manhasset and the Village of Flower Hill. Having lived in the area nearly 60 years I have been, and continue to be, an active member of the community. I currently serves as trustee of the board for the Village of Flower Hill and actively participate on a number of committees.
Professionally, I have had a successful career in the financial services industry before retiring in 2006 as group president for First Data Merchant Services. Over the course of my 41year career, I have had a solid reputation and subsequently have left a legacy of effective and collaborative problem solving amongst my team, clients, and other industry participants. Since retiring, I remain actively involved and called upon as a trusted advisor to payment and other financial services firms seeking leadership and guidance on today’s business issues.
My wife Ginny and I raised our three children in Manhasset and continue to be passionate about the community. We are proud of what Manhasset has to offer and actively promote it as a wholesome, family oriented community.
My husband and I moved to Port Washington 15 years ago. We spent 10 years renovating our fixer-upper, convinced that we would live in our house forever. Like many people, once the project was complete, we realized that we had outgrown our home. We moved to Manhasset’s Flower Hill with our three children (Emma, Abigail, and Samuel) in June 2008. We are avid home renovators, and are always looking forward to our next project. We recently completed a retaining wall, and are looking forward to spring so that we can realize our landscaping vision. I attended Fordham University for both my BA and MA in 19th century British literature, and I have been teaching English at Schreiber High School since 2000. In 2007, I earned another masters degree in educational administration from CW Post. I have a lot of community spirit and pride, and I believe that this will allow me to effectively fill the role of trustee.
I have been a Flower Hill Resident for 29 years, all in the same house. My wife Anne and I have happily raised our three children here, choosing to move here after spending 4 years across the boulevard. I am a physician specializing in open heart surgery practicing in this community for 33 years. My practice now is restricted to consultations so I have full control over my schedule. In addition to my MD degree I have a degree in public administration from the NYU Graduate School of Public Service. I served 12 years as a trustee in the Port Washington School District, as was both vice-president and president. There are many similarities between roles of trustee in the village and in the school district, especially when it comes to understanding budgets and the particular type of accounting that is used in both, Government Standards Accounting Board (GASB). This was also the type of accounting that formed the basis of the financial courses taught in graduate school. I have proven that I can work with others in a productive manner for the greater good and am known as a good listener. In addition I serve on the boards of four charities.
Q1. Can you attend the evening monthly meetings? Are you available for an emergency during the day if needed or in the middle of the night if necessary?
TH: During my tenure as trustee and then deputy mayor I usually missed one meeting a year. I rarely miss other meetings pertaining to village business. As for emergencies, I now work from my home so being on site is not a problem. Also, as the emergency manager for Flower Hill it is my duty to be here when an emergency occurs. I was in sunny Florida during Superstorm Sandy and pushed hard to get on one of the first flights back to JFK after the storm to help.
RMcN: Yes. Although I continue to consult and have an active professional life, my schedule affords me the flexibility and time required to devote to the needs of the village.
EM: Yes. I can attend monthly meetings in the evening. I have a fulltime job, but my schedule during July and August is more flexible. I am fortunate however, to work in town.
RN: I can attend the evening monthly meetings. I am available for an emergency during the day if needed or in the middle of the night if necessary.
Q2. Have you attended a village board meeting? Do you regularly attend the board meetings?
TH: In the last 12 months I missed one meeting of the board and attended countless other meetings on other village business.
RMcN: Yes, I have attended many village board meetings during my time in the village. Since my appointment to an open trustee position by Mayor Phillips in June 2012, I have also actively attended and participated in meetings of the Building Permit Review Committee and the Policy Review Committee.
EM: I have been in attendance at monthly meetings for two years.
RN: I have attended a village board meeting.
Q3. Have you served on any committees/ boards in your village? If so, which ones and for how long?
TH: After the Board of Zoning Appeals I became a trustee and then deputy mayor. I presently serve as emergency manager along with our highway supervisor and have been on the Port Washington Visionary Committee looking after Flower Hill’s interests. I was appointed to several other committees during my time on the board.
RMcN: As stated in my response above, I actively attend the Building Permit Review Committee and the Policy Review Committee meetings. In addition, Mayor Phillips has requested that I become chairman of the finance committee effective March 4. This is a position I know will carry a lot of responsibility for me and will be of interest to the residents of the village.
EM: I have been an active member in the Flower Hill Association for two years, and I have served as vice president for the past year.
RN: I did not run for re-election when by term of office on the Port Washington School Board ended in June 2012. I felt that after 12 years it was time for someone else to bring a different perspective to the job as trustee. I believe that I can bring that different perspective to the Flower Hill Board of Trustees.
Q4. What, in your opinion, is the function of a trustee?
TH: The function of the village trustee is to look after the people and laws of the village. This means reviewing building plans and businesses that wish to establish themselves in Flower Hill. It also means listening to residents’ requests on things they feel are important. That can include requests for stop signs, complaints against neighbors, basic service questions and helping in the event of a problem. What is great about being in a village is that the level of service afforded to a resident is more personal.
RMcN: By definition, a trustee is legally bound to act, within the confines of the law, in the best interests of the beneficiary, in this case the Village of Flower Hill. As such, I believe the function of a village trustee is to act in the best interests of the village as a whole. By doing so, we can maintain the village’s integrity and standards for which it has become known.
EM: A village trustee is someone who works to secure the interests of homeowners. Trustees must help to keep the decisions and vision of the village transparent. In short, a trustee is a voice for residents, making sure that the village government is running efficiently and serving the needs of homeowners. As trustee, I would like to assist in continuing the progress initiated by Mayor Philips.
RN: A trustee represents the people of Flower Hill at the seat of government and has a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of the community. A trustee is responsible for the financial accountability of the village and must exercise due diligence overseeing the village and making sure that it is well-run and in a financially sound position.
Q5. Why did you decide to run at this time?
TH: I feel my experience is important to the board and I like to help people. I was honored to be picked as the deputy mayor by our new mayor last year and feel I am an asset to her, the board and the community that I have worked hard to serve.
RMcN: Since my appointment in June 2012, I have enjoyed being an active member of the board and of the committees I participate on. I decided to run for this term as I feel there is more work to be done and that I can continue to add value to the village and its residents if elected.
EM: Since I began attending meetings, I have grown increasingly interested in village affairs. I feel that I have finally gained a solid understanding of the role of trustee, and I am ready to embrace this new challenge.
RN: I feel that with my experience and knowledge I can make a positive difference on the board of trustees.
Q6. If elected, what would you like to achieve? Change? Incumbent please state what you have achieved.
TH: In my tenure my direct responsibilities included the following but not in any particular order: The overseeing and purchase of the first village computers, selecting a vendor and changing all the old rusted road signs, getting a grant for the village generator from New York State, taking part in the first negotiations and then later at the signing of the Flower Hill Park that was acquired from Nassau County at no cost. As the first emergency manager I help Flower Hill deal with different problems. Three years ago I recommended our present call out system to residents as part of this emergency planning process. I am pleased to have taken charge in hiring the first real code enforcer Flower Hill has had in over two decades.
RMcN: If elected, I look forward to my continued role on the various committees on which I serve. In the seven months of experience I have as a trustee, I managed to support the mayor’s objective of increased transparency into village matters and look forward to continue to pursue this objective as chairman of the finance committee. Additionally, I fully support the mayor’s goal of increasing participation amongst village residents on village matters with the goal of keeping Flower Hill as one of the top communities on the North Shore.
EM: I would like to work on village relations with homeowners. The board of trustees has the interest of the village at heart, but there have been situations over the past few years that have led to negative feelings about the board. As an active advocate for residents and commercial owners, I would like to work on reestablishing trust through greater transparency.
RN: I know from my experience that, as someone who is not a trustee, I do not have a complete understanding of the workings of the board and village and will reserve specifics for the time being. I know that I can be of assistance in the budgeting process and I have a record of fiscal responsibility.
Q7. What, in your opinion, are the top agenda items for the coming year?
TH: Showing the community fiscal responsibility with another year of no village tax increases and no let up in services they expect. If re-elected, I will stay on top of LIPA directly and through our Assemblywoman Schimel and State Senator Martins to get services people expect. I will use my position as emergency manager and work on ways to keep road crews in our area by working on ways to have them sleep on the peninsula during an emergency. This will be done through my position at PWMOEM.
RMcN: Several of the top priorities for the trustees and Mayor Phillips include increased transparency on village matters, as mentioned above, as well as to increase participation amongst village residents. Effective oversight by the board depends on understanding the needs of the village as stated by its residents. If we can increase participation rates in the coming years, not only will we as a board be more effective, but also the residents of Flower Hill will have increased knowledge and confidence in our ability to execute the wishes of the village as a whole.
EM: In working to reestablish trust and goodwill I would like to find ways to make Village Hall more accessible to residents. Additionally, one item that I would like to address is the permit requirements in the village. I believe it is time to review the permits and their associated costs to ensure that all fees are reasonable and sound. I will be an experienced advocate of the residents along with the Flower Hill Party’s two other candidates, Tab Hauser and Robert McNamara.
RN: The concerns raised in the comptroller’s report still need to be addressed. Responsible transparent budgeting remains a priority.