After an intense campaign, Sal Zimbardi prevailed over incumbent Roy Smitheimer in last week's PWPD Commissioner's race, by 97 votes. The count was 936 to 839 and represents the third largest voter turnout in contested elections over the last 30 years. The largest turnout was in the 1996 election when 2,186 voted and Jim Duncan defeated Steve Zaccherio. The next largest turnout was in 1976 when 2,022 voters came out and Ellen Glickstein prevailed in her third attempt at the office and defeated Hehn.
Last year, 1,368 residents voted representing 12 percent of the 11,289 eligible voters in the police district. This year, 1,775 taxpayers voted representing 15.5 percent.
Was the high voter turnout a result of the new voting hours this year? Police Commissioner Bob Persons, who spearheaded the movement to get the hours extended, reports that 37 percent of the residents cast their ballots before 3 p.m. (Readers can decide for themselves.)
When asked to comment on his election, Commissioner-elect Zimbardi said, "I would like to thank the electorate for the faith and confidence they have shown in electing me Port Washington Police District Commissioner. I would also like to thank my family and the many friends and neighbors who worked tirelessly with me in my campaign. I am disappointed, however, in the personal character assassination on me by my opponent. Our wonderful community does not need, and will not tolerate, personal character assassinations. My answer to those accusations was to ignore them and just discuss the real issues regarding our police department. Port Washington has an excellent police department, and I look forward to working with my fellow commissioners in continuing to provide excellent police protection along with fiscal responsibility, as we face new challenges over the next several years."