The election cycle has been a quiet one this year in the Village of Poquott.
While residents would usually have a few candidates to choose from for two two-year trustee terms, this year incumbent Tina Cioffi and newcomer John Musiello are the only names that will be on the ballot June 15.
Jeff Koppelson, who is completing his third term, decided not to run again this year. In a phone interview, Koppelson said after six years, it was time to move on, especially with him wanting to spend more time on other things in his life.
He said he moved to the village in 1972, but it wasn’t until his first trustee run in 2015 that he felt compelled to run. At one point, residents were divided about the construction of a community dock in Poquott, which was completed in 2019. Koppelson said when he ran he had hoped that he could help in some way, and they could form a team that worked well together on the village board. He said he believes that goal was accomplished, and it shows with the low number of candidates this year and less contention in the village.
“It means that we don’t have discord,” he said. “There’s no dissension. So, people are not saying, ‘I’m against what you’re trying to do and I want to somehow pursue an alternative.’ It’s pretty unifying.”
In 2019, Cioffi won running on the Bright Side ticket with Koppelson. A former creative director in advertising for a Long Island-based advertising agency for 15 years, she has owned a marketing and communications consulting business since 2003. She has lived in Poquott since 2008, and her husband has owned their home since 1986.
Before she was voted in as trustee, she was appointed as communications commissioner in Poquott after volunteering to revamp the village’s website in 2017. She is also a member of the Poquott Community Association.
“I’m running again because I enjoy giving back to the community that gives me so much to be thankful for,” Cioffi wrote in an email. “The vibe in Poquott is really great these days, and if I can help keep that going, I’m really happy to do so.”
The trustee said her first time was a great experience, and she feels she accomplished many of her goals.
“Poquott saw its share of challenges these last few years – COVID-19 shutdown and reopening, Hurricane Isaias and an abundance of winter storms this past year – and I feel like I learned a lot in a short amount of time and am grateful to [former] Mayor [Dee] Parrish, Mayor [Chris] Schleider, the other board members, village staff and code enforcement/legal team for all they taught me regarding coordination and protocols.”
Cioffi said she is looking forward to Musiello “being a new member of the village team,” and wanted to thank Koppelson “for years of dedication and hard work.”
Musiello moved to Poquott in 2019. A Bronx native, after he graduated from college, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area.
He spent more than 20 years working with AAA in various divisions throughout the years, including corporate finance and real estate. The bulk of his AAA career was spent in operational and strategic positions in the automotive services division of AAA working his way up the ranks to senior director. He retired in 2012.
He and his husband, Mike Taflinger, volunteered with Caring Hands for more than 15 years. The nonprofit helps seniors remain independent. He has also been the treasurer for two homeowners associations. Currently, he and his husband volunteer at Welcome Friends Soup Kitchen and at Infant Jesus R.C. Church in Port Jefferson as Eucharistic ministers, who bring communion to parishioners in nursing and adult homes. They also take time out to clean up any trash they find on the roads and beaches in Poquott.
Musiello wrote in an email that when he moved to the village, he “immediately felt a strong sense of community, and it made me want to get more involved.”
“As soon as Tina Cioffi approached me to run for village trustee, I immediately said ‘yes,’ because I knew that working together with the other board members and mayor, we could continue to do great things in Poquott, especially keeping our community safe, clean and friendly,” Musiello said.
The candidate’s goals for office include utilizing his financial background and community service experience.
“Financially, I’m looking forward to collaborating with the board on operational efficiencies, bid reviews and budget considerations,” he said. “From a community service standpoint, having done volunteer work for many years, I hope to establish some more formalized volunteer programs for Poquott based on resident interest and feedback.”
The Village of Poquott election for village trustees will be held Tuesday, June 15, from noon to 9 p.m. at Village Hall located at 45 Birchwood Ave.