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Village Picks Massapequa Park Mayor

The Village of Massapequa Park is under new leadership.

The board of trustees unanimously elected former deputy mayor Jeffrey T. Pravato as the Village’s new mayor at Village Hall Monday, officially replacing longtime Massapequa Park leader James Altadonna.

Pravato said growing up in Massapequa Park he learned to appreciate its small town feel, and he plans to nurture that atmosphere as he enters his term.

“I grew up in a village environment with village ideals. That is what I want to keep,” he said. “We have a Main Street here. You can come into town and know everybody shopping here. When I think of small-town America, I think of Massapequa Park.”

Pravato was sworn in by Nassau County Legislator Michael Venditto, who said it was an honored to swear in his close friend and colleague.

“It’s not every day that you get to swear in a colleague into government office, and it’s not every day that you get to swear a friend into office. I have the privilege to get to do both of those things tonight,” Venditto said. “Jeff Pravato has been a good friend to me, and a good friend to our Village for quite some time now. He’s really worked his way up through the ranks, and he’s certainly worthy of becoming our next mayor.”

Serving on the board since 2002, Pravato said he thinks of Altadonna as a mentor and he plans on continuing the work began by the 13-year mayor. That work includes road improvements and beautification projects.

“We’ll all miss him [Altadonna], but I hope he comes to visit,” he said. “He was able to maintain a fiscal responsibility in the village and that cannot be understated. That is something I will continue.”

His first act of mayor was to appoint trustee Teresa Spinosa as deputy mayor. Pravato said one seat on the board of trustees remains open, but a candidate will be appointed at the next meeting.

Prior to his appointment as mayor at the meeting, Pravato found time to honor the Massapequa Arsenal soccer club on a playoff victory and wished them well in the regional games.

“They make us proud,” he said.

Pravato will serve the remainder of Altadonna’s two-year term until the next election in March 2015.

Altadonna’s new position as town clerk was previously held by Steven Labriola, who resigned in February for a job as chief of staff for Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos.

The former mayor fostered good relationships with many residents throughout the village, and even when conversations turned contentious, there was always plenty of respect. One resident who has attended nearly every Village Hall meeting since the 1960s said he had many exchanges with Altadonna that some would characterize as argumentative.

“Mr. Altadonna is a very interesting man and I wish him well,” said John O’Brian, a Massapequa Park resident. “He served the village well.”

O’Brian said the village’s assets are the envy of neighboring towns and the new mayor has to maintain that success.

“We have great parks and a wonderful down town area,” he said. “The village has grown mightily over the years, but that’s necessarily a bad thing. The new mayor has a lot to work with.”

And Pravato said he plans on working with the residents by listening to their concerns and hopefully finding resolutions to any issues brought before the village board.

“Everyone can appreciate the opportunity to have an exchange with the people who live here,” said Pravato. “This town is America at its best.”