Jerry Maline and Damon McMullen won their first bids for Northport Village trustees back in 2008. They both ran unopposed in 2012.
But on Tuesday, March 15, there is a chance the pair, who have been tied together for eight years, might be split up.
Former member of the Northport-East Northport school board Joe Sabia is the third candidate vying for the two open trustee positions this year.
“It’s a very good working relationship,” Maline said in a phone interview about McMullen. “We don’t always agree on things, but we talk it out and we come to a consensus on what’s best for the village. We support each other in our individual endeavors that help the village. We have a mutual respect for each other.”
Maline, 53, has lived in Northport since 1996. In addition to being a trustee, he also serves as the village’s commissioner of information technology, parks, personnel athletic activities and planning and development. Maline works as a trial attorney for State Farm, though his legal experience includes time in the district attorney’s office in the Bronx, as well as stints as a trial attorney for narcotics and homicide cases.
Maline said he believes his legal background has helped to keep litigation costs low for the village.
“I’m just running on my merits,” Maline said. “Everything I do is intertwined with the village… I live around the corner from Main Street. I walk through the parks five to seven times a week. I walk up and down Main Street five to seven times a week. I just want what’s best for Northport Village.”
Maline mentioned improving parking in downtown Northport as one of the goals he’d like to accomplish if he were to secure another term. One of McMullen’s causes during his tenure has been to improve the water quality of Northport Harbor and Bay, which Maline said is an issue he’d like more time to deal with.
“Ideally I’d love for kids to be able to swim in the harbor again,” Maline said.
Maline and his wife Carla have two kids, an eighth-grader and an 11th-grader, in the Northport-East Northport school district.
McMullen, who could not be reached for comment, is the current village commissioner of police and wastewater treatment. He is retired from the U.S. Postal Service, and is also a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Maline said McMullen has led the charge to improve water quality, which played a part in the reopening of the Centerport shore in July 2015.
“When you run for election, you have an idea of all of the things you want to get done, but other things came up that need attention,” McMullen said in an interview after his re-election in 2012. “Right now the main issues are improving the water quality [of Northport Harbor and Bay] and upgrading the sewer treatment plant. But we want to continue to make improvements to our parks.”
His colleagues have called McMullen a tireless worker who always finds time to help others.
Sabia said in an interview he is running because votes on the Village board too often pass with a consensus. He said he’d like to shake things up. Maline declined to comment on challenger Joe Sabia.
Election day is Tuesday, March 15, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Northport Village Hall.