2023 Elections

Photo courtesy Skyler Johnson
By Skyler Johnson

With November elections rapidly approaching, both sides of the political aisle are tense.

All 18 seats on the Suffolk County Legislature are up for election, and with the end of County Executive Steve Bellone’s (D) tenure, the county executive seat will be open for the first time since 2011. Unfortunately, the political desperation to take unilateral control over Suffolk County has led to dirty tricks and unethical behavior.

In late June, the Republican majority in Suffolk County was given the option to vote on a measure which, if passed, would have placed a clean water referendum on the ballot in November. The referendum would give voters the option to approve a negligible sales tax increase — 12 cents for every $100 dollars in spending — and critically, gain access to available state and federal funding.

This was particularly important as voters in 2022 overwhelmingly approved a $4.2 billion Environmental Bond Act to protect the environment [See story, “NYS offers possibilities of $4.2B bond act for Suffolk County, urges public input,” Aug. 31, TBR News Media], with almost 64% of Suffolk County residents voting to pass the funding. Passing a referendum would allow Suffolk County to access some of these funds.

Clean water infrastructure would greatly improve our drinking water and protect our beaches and natural spaces. In addition, the funding would create new jobs for Suffolk County.

The Republican majority, led by Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst), refused to allow residents to vote on approving the referendum. Despite the efforts of labor unions in their efforts to create jobs for working-class individuals, as well as pleading by environmentalists and advocates, the county Legislature tabled the resolution [See story, “Suffolk County Legislature recesses, blocks referendum on wastewater fund,” July 27, TBR News Media].

While McCaffrey made various excuses for his refusal to allow Suffolk County to vote on the issue, the true reason was clear: The Republican majority knew that if the referendum was on the ballot, Democratic voters would be driven to the polls in November to approve it.

The blowback was immediate. People of all political parties voiced their disapproval for the Legislature’s blatantly political action. Despite this, McCaffrey let the deadline to approve the referendum pass.

As residents continued to grow angry, McCaffrey decided to make an attempt to suppress arguments being made by Democratic candidates. Last week, he called a special meeting of the Legislature to approve a December special election for the referendum — a special election which would now cost taxpayers over $2 million to hold.

However, the special meeting of the Legislature was abruptly canceled. While McCaffrey sought to cleanse the record of his heinous political malpractice, he forgot to consider one key problem: The dissent of his own caucus.

The Republican majority refused to vote positively on the issue. With all six Democrats pledging support for the referendum, McCaffrey could not persuade even three members of his 11-seat majority to vote “yes,” and the special meeting was canceled.

Suffolk County residents now bear the consequences of these political games. Tens of thousands of homes throughout the county are without adequate septic systems. Without this funding, these systems will continue to leach toxins into our water — water that we cook with, our kids bathe in and our pets drink.

The failure by Republican leadership to come up with a plan to address Suffolk’s infamously poor drinking water quality is inexcusable. The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting our drinking water, estimates that those served by the Suffolk County Water Authority are ingesting numerous separate contaminants.

In a county with the highest breast cancer rates in the state — rates significantly higher than the rest of the nation — we cannot afford McCaffrey and his Republican majority’s dirty games.

McCaffrey cannot wash his hands of this issue. It is his responsibility to address his majority’s failure of government. If he refuses to do so, voters must take this neglect of duty into account when they cast their ballots on Nov. 7.

Skyler Johnson is the chair of the Suffolk County Young Democrats.

File photo by Raymond Janis
By Samantha Rutt

As the local election season intensifies, Suffolk County’s wastewater infrastructure has now become the defining policy issue, with residents and environmentalists demanding immediate action to address what they consider an environmental crisis.

Water quality of Long Island’s coveted waterways is currently suffering as the county’s wastewater infrastructure deteriorates rapidly. Much of the system was built decades ago and has not been adequately upgraded to meet the demands of the growing population, critics say.

“Clean water is crucial to the health of our families, the lifeblood of our economy and central to our way of life,” said businessman Dave Calone, Democratic candidate for Suffolk County executive running against Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine (R). “Unfortunately, our water quality is at an all-time low, and we need to act now to protect it.”

Local officials, residents and environmentalists have voiced concerns over the issue. Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said, “Suffolk County Legislators have an ethical and moral obligation to protect our drinking and coastal water resources.”

County Water Quality Restoration Act

The Suffolk County Water Quality Restoration Act, a plan to restore the county’s water quality, includes two bills that would create a fund to restore clean water by connecting homes and businesses to sewers and finance clean water septic system replacements.

“The need for an overall plan for wastewater infrastructure has been well-recognized for more than 60 years,” said Peter Scully, deputy county executive for administration.

Earlier this year, Scully had spearheaded a proposed 1/8 penny sales tax initiative to finance wastewater infrastructure. This proposal was rejected by the county Legislature in July, setting the stage for a contentious election season over this issue [See story, “Suffolk County Legislature recesses, blocks referendum on wastewater fund,” July 27, TBR News Media].

“Tragically, the Legislature doesn’t consider this a priority and has refused to let the public vote on this plan,” Esposito said. “Letting the public vote on a clean water referendum is good policy and good for democracy. It is deeply disturbing that the legislators support neither of those objectives.”

Impact on elections

The Republican vote to recess has met with fierce opposition from county Democrats, who are using the wastewater controversy to highlight differences in platforms.

“Republicans did not vote to put the referendum on the ballot,” said Keith Davies, Suffolk County Democratic Committee campaign manager. “It is clear that Republicans chose not to trust voters to make their own decisions. In our opinion, it was the wrong decision.”

Responding to these charges, county Legislator Stephanie Bontempi (R-Centerport), who is defending her 18th Legislative District seat against pediatrician Eve Meltzer-Krief (D-Centerport), indicated that her caucus is avoiding a rush to judgment.

“Rushing to pass legislation that is flawed and that will raise our taxes is simply irresponsible and not what our residents deserve,” Bontempi said. “Holding off with a referendum for a couple of months will certainly not lead to the end of Long Island, like some fearmongers like to claim.”

Many of the county’s wastewater treatment plants, pipelines and pumping stations are well past their intended lifespans, representing a growing risk for sewage leaks, overflows and contamination of local waterways and bays.

Meltzer-Krief warned that this could have devastating consequences for the region and its fragile ecosystems, including its renowned coastal areas and marine life.

“The quality of our waterways and bays here in Suffolk County is currently the poorest it has ever been,” she said. “The main cause is nitrogen runoff from outdated cesspools and septic systems which flows into our waters and triggers potentially toxic algal blooms which deprive marine life of the oxygen they need to survive.”

Research from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency indicates that nitrogen from sewage is suffocating Long Island’s bays and harbors, contaminating drinking water and causing fish kills and algal blooms.

“Thankfully, scientists know how to reverse this troubling and urgent environmental concern and clean our waters,” Meltzer-Krief said.

But, she added, “It is the responsibility of our county legislators to follow the science and protect our children from the toxins in the water by securing funding for the recommended clean water infrastructure.”

While local officials and environmental organizations have been sounding the alarm for years over aging infrastructure, progress has been slow and funding for these projects has often fallen short of what is required.

Restoring clean, healthy water requires drastically reducing nitrogen pollution from its primary source — Suffolk County’s approximately 360,000 nitrogen-polluting cesspools and septic systems.

“Once the legislation has been amended to properly address our wastewater infrastructure, the voters will be able to decide,” Bontempi said. “The Republican majority at the Suffolk County Legislature wants clean water, too.”

Suffolk County elections will take place Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Lillian Clayman, the Democratic Party nominee for Town of Brookhaven supervisor. Photo courtesy Clayman

Following former Port Jefferson Village Mayor Margot Garant’s unexpected departure from the race, the Brookhaven Town Democratic Committee has tapped Lillian Clayman to stand in this year’s election for Town of Brookhaven supervisor.

Incumbent town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) is running for Suffolk County executive this November, creating an open contest for his seat. The Brookhaven Republican Committee selected Deputy Supervisor Dan Panico (R-Manorville) to head the ticket.

Garant, opposing Panico on the Democratic line, suspended her campaign last week due to an “unforeseen health issue,” according to the BTDC. 

In an exclusive interview, Clayman opened up about her professional experiences and plans for the town. The new Democratic nominee centered her platform around the Brookhaven Town landfill while offering various administrative reforms.

A Port Jefferson resident, Clayman is an adjunct professor of labor and industrial relations at SUNY Old Westbury. She worked as a political organizer for health care union 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and spent a decade as a financial adviser/stockbroker at Manhattan-based global insurance corporation AIG.

Clayman served as mayor of Hamden, Connecticut, from 1991-97. She was chair of BTDC from 2016-20, and has run several political campaigns in Connecticut and on Long Island.

Clayman said she was approached last week by party leaders, who had asked to lead the ticket in Garant’s absence.

“Given the fact that I have government administrative experience as well as political experience, and given the truncated time frame, I said that I would be happy to do so,” she said.

The town landfill — located on Horseblock Road in Yaphank and scheduled to be closed to construction and demolition debris by December 2024 — is a centerpiece of Clayman’s campaign.

“We need to do something quickly about the Brookhaven landfill,” she said. “This is something that has been ignored while taxes have gone up [and] elected officials’ salaries have gone up.”

“The Brookhaven landfill and all of its impacts on the environment today and in the future has been ignored,” she added. “It’s been kicked down the road.”

Concerning intervention and remediation of the pending landfill closure, Clayman said, “The easy environmental fruit has been picked,” suggesting expediency has been advanced while root causes go neglected.

“It’s easy to be for open space,” she said. “It’s a lot harder to find a solution to something as complex as the Brookhaven landfill,” calling the facility “a Titanic headed for an iceberg.”

The Democratic candidate maintained that supervising the landfill closure — and the expected challenges precipitating from it — will require close collaboration with all interested parties.

“My plan and my approach is to bring in all of the players, all of the stakeholders in the community, so that we can make sure that we can protect our environment for real, not just with words,” Clayman said.

Along with the landfill, she proposed several administrative reforms, proposing to “bring good government” to Town Hall.

“Good government means putting contracts out to bid fairly, without regard to whether or not they contribute to your campaign,” she said. “It’s also an approach that [assesses] whether or not we actually need a service, so I do use a little bit of zero-based budgeting in my approach to providing services.”

In stating why she entered the race, Clayman indicated that the town government requires greater proactiveness and energy to serve its residents most effectively.

“There’s a lot of work to do,” she said. “There have been years of neglect and coasting, and I intend to get to work on day one.”

Village of Port Jefferson Mayor Margot Garant during a Board of Trustees meeting June 5. File photo by Raymond Janis

Former Port Jefferson Village Mayor Margot Garant, the Democratic Party nominee in this year’s contest for Town of Brookhaven supervisor, has suspended her campaign.

Lillian Clayman, a resident of Port Jefferson and adjunct professor of labor and industrial relations at SUNY Old Westbury, will now lead the Democratic ticket.

Garant recently experienced “an unforeseen health issue,” prompting her to exit the race, according to a statement from the Brookhaven Town Democratic Committee.

“This was not an easy decision,” Garant said. “Public service has been the honor of a lifetime, and my love for Port Jefferson and Brookhaven knows no bounds.” But, she added, “Right now, I need to put my health and my family first.”

Incumbent town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) announced his candidacy for Suffolk County executive in February, triggering an open contest to fill his seat. Garant and Deputy Supervisor Dan Panico (R-Manorville) had secured their respective party’s nominations that same month.

Panico responded to news of Garant’s departure. “I wish Margot the very best for a speedy and full recovery,” he said in a text to TBR News Media.

Anthony Portesy, chair of the town Democratic committee, confirmed Clayman, former BTDC chair from January 2016 to August 2020 and three-time mayor of Hamden, Connecticut, from 1991-97, has stepped forward to replace Garant as the party’s nominee.

“I wish my dear friend Margot Garant a speedy recovery,” Clayman said. “I am delighted to join a slate of Democratic candidates who are committed to making Brookhaven a forward-looking, honestly governed community.”

In a message published on social media, Portesy offered consolation to Garant, maintaining an optimistic tenor as the race continues.

“I want to take the time to thank my dear friend Margot Garant for stepping up to run this race, and I wish her a rapid recovery,” the committee chair said. “The battle marches on, but you remain in our hearts, our thoughts and our minds as we carry your vision forward into November.”

Garant served as mayor of Port Jefferson from 2009-23. She announced her plans to retire from the village government earlier this year and was succeeded by trustee Lauren Sheprow on July 3.

Mayor-elect Lauren Sheprow celebrates on Election Night. Photo by Aidan Johnson
By Raymond Janis & Aidan Johnson

In a historic upset, trustee Lauren Sheprow — a write-in candidate — was elected Village of Port Jefferson mayor Tuesday night, June 20, capping off a contentious season in the village. 

In a contested race to succeed Mayor Margot Garant, who is running for Town of Brookhaven supervisor, Sheprow defeated Deputy Mayor Kathianne Snaden 956-796.

Incumbent trustee Stan Loucks and former village clerk Bob Juliano were elected with 935 and 1,244 votes, respectively, in an uncontested race. Voters also elected Tara Higgins as village justice with 1,381 votes.

Sheprow announced her bid for mayor in March, running on a platform of change and pledging to move the village in a new direction.

‘Our Village Hall is now open to all residents.’

— Lauren Sheprow

Her campaign hit an unexpected stumbling block on May 30, just three weeks before Election Day, when the Suffolk County Board of Elections removed her name from the ballot due to faults in her petitions after charges brought on by Snaden’s campaign.

Despite the unfavorable Suffolk BOE decision, Sheprow became a write-in candidate. In an interview, the mayor-elect commented on the race’s conclusion.

“It was an uphill climb all the way, but the determination of my supporters and the residents themselves made it possible to overcome every challenge,” she said. “I also want to congratulate Kathianne Snaden for a spirited race. I know we both want the best for Port Jefferson and its future.”

She added, “I’m humbled and honored by the unwavering support and the positive feedback I received from all the residents I met with throughout the village during this whole process.”

Before entering the board last year, Sheprow had worked as a media relations professional at Stony Brook University and Mather Hospital. Her father, Harold, had served as village mayor from 1977-85 and 1987-91.

Sheprow also congratulated the newly elected trustees and village justice, expressing optimism and pledging to follow the public will.

“I look forward to working with this board … to make positive change and a fresh start for Port Jefferson,” she said, adding, “Our Village Hall is now open to all residents. Whether you voted for me or not, I am listening.”

In a separate interview, Garant thanked the community for entrusting her throughout her 14 years at the helm. “I think I’ve done my job, and I’ve left this community in a good spot,” the outgoing mayor said. “I just hope for the base to know to keep it going forward.”

After four years of service on the Board of Trustees, Snaden’s tenure now ends as the deputy mayor had vacated her trustee seat to run for mayor. In the wake of the election result, Snaden released a statement expressing her gratitude for those who supported her campaign.

“While I may not have won this election, I am grateful for the opportunity to have shared my vision for the future of this village,” she said. “I believe that together, we can continue to make this village an even better place to live, work and raise a family.”

She added that she would remain involved, saying:

“To the Port Jefferson community, I want to say that I will continue to be a voice for positive change and progress. I will continue to work to ensure that this village remains a wonderful place to call home. I will continue to be an advocate for our community, and I will work to build bridges and bring people together.” 

Incumbent trustee Stan Loucks, left, and former village clerk Bob Juliano were also elected to the village board Tuesday night. File photos by Raymond Janis

Loucks, who has been on the board since 2015, ran alongside Snaden on the Unity Party ticket. While thanking the community for its vote of confidence in him, he expressed sympathy for his running mate.

“I think the village lost a very valuable person with Kathianne Snaden,” he said. “But congratulations, I guess, to the opponent.”

Outside of the uncontested Higgins, Juliano received the highest vote count of any candidate. In a phone interview, the first-time elected official thanked the community for its strong support.

“I am humbled by the support and encouragement that I have been getting from everyone,” he said. “I promise to do my best and make Port Jefferson a better place for us all,” adding, “I’m looking forward to sitting down with all the new board members and discussing where we want to see Port Jefferson head.”

The current board will convene for one final meeting this Monday, June 26, at 3:30 p.m. The new mayor and trustees will swear into office outside Village Hall on July 4 following the annual parade.

File photo

Village of Poquott residents chose two incumbents and one newcomer as they voted for two trustees and village justice June 20. 

Incumbent trustee John Musiello Jr. and newcomer Jeremy Flint won the two trustee seats with 202 and 212 votes, respectively. Challenger Jim Ma received 118 votes and write-in candidate Felicia Chillak had 2 votes.

In the race for village justice, incumbent Paul Edelson received 158 votes. Trustee Darlene Mercieca challenged Edelson and garnered 131 votes.

This will be the second term for Musiello and third for Edelson. Mercieca, who ran for trustee for the first time in 2022, has one more year remaining of her first term.

According to the village, 211 in-person ballots and 81 valid absentee ballots were cast for a total of 292.

Lauren Sheprow, mayor-elect of the Village of Port Jefferson. File photo by Raymond Janis
Election results for the Village of Port Jefferson

Mayoral candidates:

Lauren Sheprow – 956

Kathianne Snaden – 796


Trustee candidates, two seats:

Bob Juliano – 1,244

Stan Loucks – 935


Candidates for village justice:

Tara Higgins – 1,381

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Stock photo

The Village of Huntington Bay will be conducting its trustee elections on June 20. Incumbent trustees Mark Dara and Barbara Beuerlein are running for reelection while Janice Schillig is challenging.

Mark Dara

Dara has been a resident of Huntington Bay for 23 years. He has been serving in the trustee position for the past 11 years.

Dara worked as a construction electrician for 42 years. “I’m very familiar with dealing with contracts with subcontractors and different phases of construction, because electricians kind of get involved in everything,” Dara said in a phone interview.

He says that this expertise is particularly useful, as he also serves as road commissioner. “I thought it was very helpful for me over the years to deal with the contractors,” Dara said. “We secure a lot of state, federal and local funds and try and get most of our road repairs offset by grants and different funds that are available to us.”

Dara said that if reelected, he would continue to do what he’s been doing in his time in office. “We’ve been able to broker deals with utility companies and we’re getting roads restored curb to curb,” Dara said. “We’re getting very good results. So, I would just continue to do the same thing I’ve been doing and trying to get those same results for everybody.”

Barbara Beuerlein has been a resident of Huntington Bay for the past nine years and is a lifelong resident of Huntington township.

Beuerlein was elected to the position of trustee in 2021. She will be attempting to win reelection for her second term.

In an email interview Beuerlein said that professionally she had a career as an advertising executive for a major women’s magazine. Following her career,  she has done a lot of volunteer work in her community. 

Barbara Beuerlein

She currently volunteers at The Church of St. Patrick outreach program and the Society of St.Vincent de Paul. According to Huntingtonbay.org, she is on the Advisory Board for the not-for-profit hospital and education center Volunteers for Wildlife. She has also served on the board for the Cold Spring Harbor Citizen Faculty Association.

“As the Trustee of the Village of Huntington Bay, I will listen to the needs and wants of all the residents and focus on what is best for the entire community through fiduciary responsibility and integrity,” Beuerlein said. “I took an oath to work for the residents of the Village of Huntington Bay and I will continue to do so.”

Schillig has lived in Huntington Bay for 26 years. In an email interview, Schillig said that she has 46 years of experience in financial services in corporate and advertising agencies. She recently retired from her position of senior marketing executive at UBS Wealth Management Americas.

Schillig has also served on the UBS Veterans Network Steering Committee, actively volunteers with The Helping Hands Rescue Mission in Huntington and is chair of The Head of Bay Club Membership Committee. She also volunteers writing book reviews for the Stroll Huntington Bay magazine,

Janice Schillig

“As Village Trustee, I will ignite much needed positive change and lead with integrity as my foundation,” Schillig said. Her goals include: leading with fiscal oversight and accountability; delivering timely emails/newsletters to improve communication and transparency and to keep residents informed; encouraging active participation in village trustee meetings; representing the voices and opinions of fellow residents; and promoting a civil, cooperative tone in leadership.

The annual village election will take place on Tuesday, June 20, from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. The voting location is Village Hall, located at 244 Vineyard Road, Huntington Bay.


The Village of Asharoken is also holding elections on Tuesday, June 20. Incumbent trustees Mary P. Pierce and Ian Jablonski did not respond to requests for comment. They are running unopposed.

Voting will take place from noon to 9 p.m. at Village Hall, located at 1 Asharoken Ave.,Asharoken.

File photo of Poquott's Village Hall

By Rita J. Egan and Daniel Febrizio

This June 20, Village of Poquott trustee Darlene Mercieca is challenging current justice Paul Jay Edelson, who is completing his second four-year term.

Paul Jay Edelson

Edelson and his wife, Leta, have lived in Poquott for 37 years. For more than 30 years, he was dean of the School of Professional Development at Stony Brook University. In addition to serving as village justice, he is a former trustee, a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals and a Poquott Civic Association board member. His wife is a former village mayor and trustee.

The village justice is an attorney, who graduated from Hofstra University Law School, while working full time at SBU.

“Like many people in our community, I learned to juggle family, work and school,” he said in an email. “My understanding of the many challenges confronting working adults is an asset in the courtroom and helps me better understand the lives of those who come before me.”

Edelson added he has performed pro bono legal work through the Nassau Suffolk Law Services. He is a New York State mediator for Small Claims Court and a member of the New York State Surrogate Decision-Making Committee.

“The SDMC exists to provide protection for the rights of severely intellectually disabled persons if there are major medical and end-of-life decisions to be made, when there are no other persons available and willing to take these responsibilities,” he added.

Edelson reflected on his tenure as justice so far.

“As judge, I am impartial, unbiased, fair and experienced,” he said. “I am fiercely independent and do not report to the village mayor, trustees or other village officials, including Code Enforcement. I do not make or amend our village laws. My sole job is to ensure that Poquott’s laws comport with both the NY and US Constitutions and that they are fairly and correctly administered without favoritism, outside influence or prejudice. Residents can be assured that I am independent of any and all political pressures.”

Darlene Mercieca 

Mercieca is a five-year resident of Poquott. Due to her sister Dee Parrish being a former mayor and current trustee, Mercieca has been volunteering in the village for fundraisers and events for more than 20 years.

Mercieca is a health care professional with 30 years of experience. She has been a director of multiple departments within Brookdale University Hospital in Brooklyn, including working with vendor and employer contracts, according to her biography on the candidates’ campaign website, www.yourpoquott.com.

In addition to holding an MBA in finance and a master’s degree in health care administration, she has continued her education at the School of Law at Pace University in White Plains.

She is currently a chief operating officer with the Central Orthopedic Group in Plainview “overseeing over 200 staff members and budgets of $75 million. My professional experience focuses on daily operations, human resources and patient satisfaction.”

In an email, she said she has a law degree and LL.M, masters of law degree, with a focus on family law. Mercieca added she also has experience with contracts and vendor and employment agreements.

“The job of justice is to interpret and enforce the laws set by our board of trustees,” she said. “As a current trustee, a lot of work goes into developing a law for the betterment of the village. As justice I want to see these laws carried out to the community’s intention.”

Mercieca said she feels her health care background will be an asset to the position.

“I feel my career experience has shaped me to have empathy for individuals while ensuring our laws are enforced so that everyone can enjoy where they live,” she said.

During her tenure as trustee, she developed an interest in running for village justice.

“As a trustee, I worked on the short-term rental issues within the village and the board of trustees have worked hard on balancing this topic,” she said. “I want to ensure our laws are upheld while providing fairness to our residents and guests.”

Voting information

In addition to voting for village justice, voters will choose from three trustee candidates running for two seats, see the June 8 The Village Herald Times article, “Three candidates vie for two trustee seats in Village of Poquott.”

The Village of Poquott will hold its annual election on Tuesday, June 20, at Village Hall, 45 Birchwood Av. Polling will be open from noon to 9 p.m.

Residents enjoy a stroll on the community dock in Poquott. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Village of Poquott residents will vote June 20 on the open seats on the village board. There are two trustee positions for two-year terms while the justice position runs for four years.

For the two trustee seats, the three candidates are incumbent trustee and Deputy Mayor John Musiello, Jeremy Flint and Jim Ma. Current trustee Dee Parrish is not seeking reelection. For village justice, the candidates are incumbent Paul Edelson and current trustee Darlene Mercieca.

Musiello, Flint and Mercieca are running on an informal ticket known as Team Poquott. Their website is yourpoquott.com.

Village trustee candidates

John Musiello

Musiello has served as trustee the past two years for one term. He has lived in Poquott for almost 10 years now. He was appointed deputy mayor last year by Mayor Tina Cioffi. Traditionally the village mayor appoints one of the four trustees to take on the mantle of deputy mayor.

“I think it’s going really well,” Musiello said in a phone interview regarding his time on the village board. He explained that everyone on the board has their areas of expertise, and that a lot of what he has done is work with landscapers and construction workers fixing potholes and paving roads.

He said that his responsibilities include helping organize the annual budget as well as attending the monthly meetings which, he said, “gives me an opportunity to learn not only the operations but to work with a lot of our residents.”

“I agreed to run for trustee because I really felt like I could help bring the community together, and I certainly want to have a united front with our residents,” Musiello said. He explained that the platform he ran on was “to keep Poquott safe, clean and friendly.”

He said that neighborhood cleanliness is particularly important to him and that multiple times per month he’ll go out with gloves and garbage bag to pick up garbage on the neighborhood streets. He has also helped coordinate cleanup initiatives, like the annual beach cleanup.

Jeremy Flint

Flint is a newer resident of Poquott, having moved into the neighborhood in 2021 with his wife and now three small children. Flint was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, although his parents are from Brooklyn and Connecticut.

Flint has a “background in construction insurance and consulting,” he said in a phone interview. He has experience running his own public adjusting firm, which specializes in “commercial and large loss catastrophe work,” according to yourpoquott.com. 

“I’ve worked with a lot of municipalities, vendors, associations,” Flint said. “I can bring some of that experience to the village with helping them run their day-to-day activities and any of the issues that the village [encounters] through the year.”

“I think it’s really important to be involved in your community,” Flint said. After he was approached to run for the open trustee seat, he spoke with his wife and they decided he should run for the position. “If you can help and contribute to it, we thought it would be a good opportunity to continue our involvement in the village,” he said.

He indicated that he’s looking forward to “better getting to know [the residents] and working with them and seeing the best way I can help with this process and the continued growth of the village.”

Jim Ma

Ma has lived with his family in Poquott since 2013. His professional experience includes more than 15 years as a financial risk manager. Now he consults for regulatory, credit and market risks on client portfolios.

“My consulting business mainly focuses on domestic and international banks on Wall Street,” Ma said in an email interview. “We have had many challenges in the village for the past few years that trace their roots to financial resources and planning. Some of the village’s previous very successful projects already showed the benefit of leveraging the proper financial tools.”

Ma continued, “I have a strong finance and business development background, which equips me to represent and fight for our interests effectively. I envision making Poquott village the best place to live, work and raise a family.”

He highlighted the importance of maintaining financial responsibility, enhancing infrastructure, preserving the environment and promoting community engagement.

“I will ensure our village’s budget is handled responsibly, focusing on essential services and strategic investments while also pursuing additional sources of funding to ease the burden on our taxpayers,” Ma wrote.

Village justice candidates

Village justice incumbent Edelson and health care professional Mercieca did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.

According to Musiello, if Mercieca were to win, she would leave her trustee seat and the mayor would appoint a replacement trustee to fill the vacancy.

The elections will take place on Tuesday, June 20, from noon to 9 p.m. at Village Hall, 45 Birchwood Ave., Poquott.