Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 25 March 2011 00:00
After Mineola saw two board members step back from a mayoral and trustee candidacy, and a new trustee appointed in December, who’s now the new mayor, Mineola’s new board of trustees has all but come to fruition. The board certified the results of the 2011 village elections last Wednesday.
The village saw its biggest turnout at the polls since 2008, exclusive of referendums, according to village officials. Trustee Scott Strauss ran unopposed for mayor and received 973 total votes.
The three-man race for two open trustee seats was decided in current mayor Larry Werther garnering 691 votes, not-so-newcomer (he ran for trustee in 2006) George Durham gaining 834 votes to complete the new board. Mustang Party candidate Christopher Wales collected 501 votes.
Strauss was sworn in a week before Dec. 15, 2010 as trustee. He said he’s honored to represent the village as its new mayor.
“I was glad to see the Mineola residents come out and support me and the other candidates,” Strauss said. “I’m going to do everything I possibly can to live up to their expectations.”
Strauss has lived in Mineola since 1964. He’s a graduate of Mineola High School. He is also a former emergency service police officer, Little League baseball coach, Boy Scout leader and former chief of the Mineola Fire Department.
“I need to get my arms around the things that are going on in the village and meet with all the department heads,” Strauss said. “I want to see what we could do about educating residents and business owners about certain regularities of the village, like garbage pickup.”
Werther and Durham will take the seats vacated by Strauss and now-former trustee Thomas Kennedy. Kennedy announced he would not run in February.
Kennedy was tapped to head a major project at a Manhattan bank. Durham was selected by the committee to fill vacancies for Kennedy’s election spot. He will join the current board of trustees Paul Pereira, Paul Cusato, Werther and mayor Strauss.
“I was thrilled and relieved,” Durham said of the results of the election. “It was a nerve-wracking day to say the least, with the whole process of waiting and seeing what’s going to happen. I was happy to see so many people come out and vote for Scott [Strauss]. It validates his candidacy even though he ran unopposed. Also, Chris Wales ran a nice, clean campaign and I hope he continues to be involved in village functions.”
Wales announced his candidacy in February. He’s been an active member of the community. He was an assistant Cub Master for Pack 246 for three years and rose up to become the Cub Master for the pack.
Wales worked to organize events like the Scout Walk, the Pack 246 food drive for Corpus Christi Church and the Mustang Run Water Station support.
“It was an honor to run this year,” Wales said. “I was glad some of the issues I touched on seemed to resonate with voters. I was very pleased that the Mineola voters had enough faith in me to turn out in the numbers that they did.
“I congratulate those three gentlemen to the highest degree. They ran a good campaign,” he said of the election winners. “[The campaign] was about issues, not personalities or distractions. They won fare and square.”
Werther announced he would not run for the office of mayor in January for reasons similar to Kennedy in that his full-time job responsibilities and did not want to “short-change” the residents of Mineola. Werther has been on the board since 2003.
“I was happy and honored with the results,” Werther said. “This is my fifth election and I feel no less gratitude today than when I did the first time I was elected. My promises and my oaths don’t go away with election cycles. I did feel a sense of appreciation from the people of Mineola.”
The new mayor and trustees will be sworn in during the board’s reorganization meeting on April 4 at 7 p.m. at the community center in Village Hall.