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The Friends of Westbury Party announced its slate of candidates for the Village of Westbury election, which will take place this year on Tuesday, March 17. The candidates include Joseph A. Masiello for mayor; and Larry Kirton and Lou Neziri for trustees.

Longtime Action Party Mayor Ernest Strada has announced that he will be retiring at the end of his current term and Masiello, who also sought the mayoral seat in 2005, is running against Action Party candidate and current trustee Peter I. Cavallaro. Kirton and Neziri are running against current Trustee and Deputy Mayor Joan M. Boes and Trustee William B. Wise.

Mayor and trustee positions in Westbury Village are four years, effective April 1, 2009 through March 31, 2013. Trustee seats are at-large.

Joseph Masiello was born and raised in Westbury and is a graduate of St. Brigid's School. He graduated from C.W. Post University with a bachelor's in accounting. After working for an accounting firm, Masiello changed career paths and worked in the construction industry, founding two of his own companies. After many years, he decided to combine his business acumen with a desire to see growth in the Westbury business district and purchased land on Post Avenue, which he transformed into what used to be JM's Steakhouse at The Stockyard.

A member of the Westbury Chamber of Commerce for over 10 years, Masiello is a past recipient of their Man of the Year Award and, for the past six years, has been an active member of the Westbury Business Improvement District (B.I.D.). He is also a member of Westbury Raising Educational Standards Together (W.R.E.S.T.) and has served as a Little League coach in both the Carle Place and Westbury communities for several years.

In January 2008, Masiello formed Residents Against Transfer Station (R.A.T.S.) in an effort, he said, "to increase community awareness of a proposed garbage transfer station in Westbury." The mayoral candidate said that "due to this increased awareness, hundreds of village residents attended a village meeting as a united front to defeat the proposal." This level of community involvement and unity, said Masiello, convinced him village residents are ready for a change.

Masiello believes that the mayor and the board of trustees must work towards establishing trust and communication within the village to build sound relationships between Westbury residents, local businesses and government. If elected mayor, Masiello, who ran for mayor against Strada in 2005, said his "greatest desire is to see a rebirth of the Village of Westbury: new growth in a thriving business community, coupled with the resurgence of involved residents who recognize the strong need to support that growth." Masiello said he intends to "use his expertise as a successful businessman and accountant to bring fiscal responsibility and direction and to ensure proper management of our village."

Lawrence "Larry" Kirton, an 11-year resident, is an active member in the Hedges Estates Civic Association as well as a member of the Westbury School District Board of Education Advisory Committee and a charter member and the current president of Westbury Raising Educational Standards Together (W.R.E.S.T.).

A graduate of Stony Brook University, Kirton earned a bachelor of science in respiratory care and holds advanced certificates in both community health and health care management from Stony Brook's Graduate Division/School of Health Technology & Management. He and his wife of more than 18 years, Josie Riollano, have two children who are both enrolled in the upper schools of the Westbury School District.

Kirton strongly believes that "we need not accept a passive role in the structuring of our lives." He is looking forward to devoting his knowledge and skills to the management of Westbury to meet the planning and educational needs of the village. "The analysis and evaluation of the existing outdated policies towards implementing revised policies in the best interest of current and future residents and businesses is a necessary intervention crucial to maximizing our municipal efficiency and growth," said Kirton, adding, "Once the transparency of the workings of village governance is re-established, he will make sure that all residents will have the clarity necessary to make Westbury not only a community for all seasons but also a community for all people."

Lou Neziri has been an active citizen in the Village of Westbury for the past 15 years. Neziri and his wife, Maria, a lifelong village resident, live with their two children in an historic home they recently restored after having lived for many years in Westbury's Breezy Hill section. Neziri was also the proud and dedicated owner of Carsmetics Inc, which was located across from the Westbury Long Island Rail Road station.

Neziri, an active member of the Westbury Raising Educational Standards Together (W.R.E.S.T.), said he is campaigning to be Westbury Village Trustee "in order to bring needed change to village government." Neziri moved to Westbury Village from a bustling Queens community and sees Westbury as a centrally located community that could be full of life and thriving businesses. "Rather than just zip through our community, [I] would like people to view Westbury as a community for families and businesses alike to live and grow in."

If elected, Neziri said he "hopes to use his ideas and fresh views to help Westbury grow and prosper from the opportunities in nearby areas and potential ventures."


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