Voting for Westbury Water-Fire District commissioner will take place Tuesday, Dec. 11 from 2 to 9 p.m. at the Maple Avenue firehouse.
This year, Kenneth Jones is running unopposed for re-election to a third, three-term as commissioner. Vincent Abbatiello, who was appointed by the North Hempstead Town Board in September, is running to fill the remainder of the Robert Culbert's seat. Challenging Abbatiello is Joseph Pascarella, Sr. Winner of this seat will serve the remaining two years of the three-year term, which expires Dec. 31, 2009.
The following are profiles on the candidates:
Vincent Abbatiello was appointed to the board in September by the Town of North Hempstead to fill the seat vacated by Robert Culbert. He is running to serve the remaining two years on Culbert's term.
Abbatiello, a lifelong Westbury resident, joined the Westbury Fire Department in 1997 and, in 2001, became chairman of the Fund-Drive Committee, a position he still holds. Over the past decade, he has risen through the fire department ranks and currently serves as captain of Hook and Ladder Company #1. Additionally, he serves as a senior advisor to Explorer Post 960, Westbury's junior fire department program for boys and girls ages 9 through 18.
Abbatiello is a Hofstra University graduate and accountant by trade who currently works as a supervisor at the Hauppauge-based accounting firm of Schultheis and Panettieri, LLP where he works in the field of labor unions and ERISA employee benefit funds, which include auditing, accounting and tax services to a broad range of not-for-profit organizations. On a local level, he provides tax assistance to neighboring seniors on a pro bono basis.
According to Abbatiello, he is the candidate of choice because he is "eager, aggressive, young and willing to learn." In addition, he said his "knowledge of the fire end is deep" as he has risen through the chains and been involved with various organizations. In terms of the water end of the district, Abbatiello said that since appointed commissioner, he has taken classes to learn more about what it entails.
As a commissioner, Abbatiello said he has worked alongside the other two commissioners and superintendent to address issues brought forth in Nassau County Comptroller Howard Weitzman's recent audit of the water district. "We have tackled many issues from the audit. We have hired professionals to prepare conflict of interest polices, implemented internal control changes and also attacked civil service issues that arose. Day to day, this issues have been addressed," he said.
Overall, Abbatiello said he is a "hands on guy" and "advocate for the community." He believes that there should be an open level of communication and said he is available to all residents who have questions or concerns. "I am all about keeping everyone informed," Abbatiello said. "I don't want anything that is going to ruin the community that I am a part of. It's a choice to be a commissioner and as one, I have a job to fulfill."
Lifelong Westbury resident Joseph Pascarella is running for water-fire commissioner, challenging Vincent Abbatiello for the remaining two years on former commissioner Robert Culbert's term.
In addition to being a United States Marine Corps veteran who served in the Korean War and a Marine Corps Reservist, Pascarella is a retired corrections officer who served 25 years with the Nassau County Sheriff's Department. He and his wife, Marion, parishioners of St. Brigid's, raised five children, Marion, Maureen, Joseph Jr., JoAnn and Thomas and have 8 grandchildren.
Pascarella is a member of the Knights of Columbus, the St. Brigid's Ministry of Hospitality and the Westbury Seniors Center as well as vice chairman of the Nassau County Monument Committee and sits on the North Hempstead Town Inter-municipal Coordination Advisory Board. During the early 1990s he served on the Westbury Board of Education and held the position of president. He was commander of both the Nassau County VFW and Westbury VFW, and a past president of both the Sons of Italy and the Maria SS Dell Assunta Society.
Pascarella, who enjoys getting involved, said he's running for commissioner because he believes he has the experience to "fix the district's problems," particularly those involving the water end. If elected, he said he would work to reduce water taxes and water rates and work to ensure all district equipment is updated and the district-owned vehicles are properly marked.
According to Pascarella, the recent audit labeled Westbury Water as "the worst-run district the comptroller has ever seen" and that, if elected, he would work to rectify that image.
As commissioner, Pascarella said he would work with county officials to make sure district violations uncovered in the audit are corrected and determine if the district has the rights to recoup any money paid out and if any wrong-doings should be processed by law. Additionally, he would work to enforce the legal definition of part-time employees for the district. "In the school district or the county, anyone who works 20 hours or less is not entitled to health coverage or insurance," said Pascarella. "I would work to find out the legal interpretation of part-time employees."
Pascarella said he is the candidate of choice. "My feeling is I am the best person qualified to go in and straighten out the mess that is there," he said, adding. "I enjoy the challenge and feel that my experience, together with the other commissioners, can make the district one of the best in Nassau County."
Kenneth Jones, who was first elected commissioner of the Westbury Water-Fire District in 2001, is running unopposed for this third term.
A native of Ohio and United States Air Force veteran, Jones moved to Westbury in 1980 and began his broadcast career as an on-air personality for Long Island-based radio station WGBB-AM. Today, he works as a building designer and is also owner of KO VIP Drafting & Space Planning Services, Inc., a Westbury-based building and interior design firm, licensed and registered with the National Kitchen and Bath Association as well as the American Institute of Building Designers.
On a local level, Jones spent 10 years as president of the Westbury on the Green Civic Association and is a member of both the village's Code Review Board and Grievance Board as well as a member of the Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT). Earlier this year, Jones was appointed the North Hempstead Town Inter-municipal Coordination Advisory Board.
During his first term as commissioner, Jones said he was successful in reducing the district's water rates. "I pay the same water rates and property taxes as everyone else and also want the best services," he said.
Additionally, he supports open communication between the districts and the community. "I have worked to maintain a positive dialogue between the community and water-fire district," Jones said, adding that he has no problems with the county's recent audit of the water district. "As a commissioner, I have taken everything [in the audit] under advisement and consideration," said Jones.
The commissioner concluded that he is seeking re-election because he "loves helping people."
On Tuesday, Dec. 11, residents will take to the polls. Carle Place residents will be asked to vote for library board trustee and water district commissioner and East Meadow residents will be casting their vote for fire commissioner. The respective elections and candidates, along with times and locations, are as follows:
Elections for the Carle Place Public Library Funding District's (CPPLFD) Board of Trustees will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Carle Place High School/Middle School Library. As of press time, Margaret Wilde is seeking re-election to the CPPLFD unopposed. Trustees terms are five years and election to this seat is effective from Jan. 1, 2007 to Dec. 31, 2011.
Timothy E. Stellato, who was appointed by the Town of North Hempstead in January 2006 after the death of commissioner Robert T. Heller and elected last December to serve the year left on the seat, is seeking re-election. Challenging Stellano for the three-year term is William Bendel. Elections will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Carle Place Fire Department, 460 Broadway. Mineola Avenue. For more information, call 333-0540.
In East Meadow, Scott Farber and Glenn Carpentier are both running for the open seat being vacated by current commissioner Robert Beck. Voting will take place from 1 to 9 p.m. Residents living south of Hempstead Turnpike vote at headquarters, 197 East Meadow Avenue, while those living north vote at Station #3 located at Newbridge Road and Carnation. For more information, call 542-0578.