Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 24 December 2010 00:00
Mineola knew this day would come sooner or later. After eight years as village mayor, Senator-elect Jack Martins formally resigned at last week’s board of trustees meeting.
His resignation came in the aftermath of a successful court proceeding on the 7th Senate District election, in which Martins was certified the winner three weeks ago over Craig Johnson, whose appeal was denied on Dec. 14. Johnson said he will take the case to a higher court. Martins had to resign as mayor no later than Dec. 31.
Martins swore in Deputy Mayor Larry Werther as mayor of Mineola after his resignation. Werther will serve out the term until the March elections.
“I feel very honored,” Werther said. “I thank my fellow board members for trusting me enough to take the helm of the village and to put me in the position of mayor,” Werther said in his first interview as mayor of Mineola. “We have and always had level heads up there on the board.”
Werther has not decided if he will run for mayor when the current term ends. He said that is a decision he has to make in, “the best interest of the village.”
“It has been my privilege and honor to serve as mayor for the last eight years,” Martins stated. “It has been quite a journey. I thank all the members of the board for their help, hard work and friendship. The things we’ve been able to achieve as a community will never be forgotten.”
Seats up for election in March are the mayor’s seat, Tom Kennedy’s seat and that of newly appointed Trustee Scott Strauss. Mayor Werther swore in Strauss last Wednesday as well.
“I think we made a tremendous addition to the board in putting Scott Strauss up there,” Werther stated. “He has a good perspective of the village.”
Strauss, ex-fire chief of the Mineola Fire Department is a well-known Mineola resident. Werther said it was a “no-brainer” in bringing him on.
“I’d like to keep the village on the right track in my time as trustee; the track it has been on,” Strauss said. “Helping improve Mineola is the core of this position and taking care of the residents in keeping taxes down and such.”
Strauss has lived in Mineola since 1964. He’s a graduate of Mineola High School. He is also a former emergency service police officer. A Little League baseball coach, Boy Scout leader and former chief of the Mineola Fire Department, Strauss will take Werther’s previous seat as trustee.
“This is a great village,” he said. “I can’t wait to get started.”
In terms of the changes that could come with his being mayor, Werther said he doesn’t want to stray too far from what works. Furthermore, he said that implementing the village’s Master Plan is top priority.
“I don’t want to change things from one perspective,” he said. “Jack [Martins] had an incredibly steady hand on the rudder of this village. I’m going to continue to do what we promised to do. One thing I would like to do is go forward with the elements of the master plan that would make the village a destination. Something like that would put people in the empty stores and bring businesses here.”
Werther concluded that he has thought about appointing a deputy mayor, but is not sure which member of the board would assume that position. “A deputy mayor is an absolute necessity in the village,” he said. “I’ll make the determination by the first board meeting.”