If reelected, what would be your top priority during the coming term?
I want to go forward successfully with a plan to capture water — not only to give us more water at the golf course but to protect the environment.
The water now that’s running rampant, a lot of it is dumping right into the Long Island Sound. We have a large spillway that goes right alongside our golf course. All that water we’re going to try to collect, putting it in ponds on the golf course.
The water we collect will be purified before we put it on the golf course. We’re going to have a system to sanitize the water.
The one pond we have now is filled with turtles, fish and wildlife. I’d like nothing better than to see more water on our golf course.
How do you intend to help guide ongoing bluff stabilization efforts at East Beach and maximize the potential of the village-owned Port Jefferson Country Club?
The lower wall is basically complete. The bluff itself — except directly underneath the clubhouse — has been stabilized.
It’s all been raked out, leveled out and covered with a heavy-duty burlap. And both the east and west portions of the bluff project are fairly complete. Now we’re waiting for [the Federal Emergency Management Administration] to come through with the money to begin phase II of the bluff project — an upper wall.
Our goal at this point in time is to save that structure, our clubhouse up there now. Prior to FEMA, maybe my thoughts would be different. But that [$3.75] million we’re getting from FEMA is a game changer for the taxpayers and the village.
What is the proper role of the Board of Trustees in overseeing new developments and redevelopment of village parcels?
We’re running out of space for further development, barring, for example, uptown. Many developers have come in there and bought out a lot of the businesses.
Beyond the master plan, a lot of that development came in as a way to replace revenue lost from [the Long Island Power Authority glide path settlement]. Unfortunately, the Town of Brookhaven controls the [Industrial Development Agency] tax situation.
When those developers come in and get a tax break, that’s not on us. That’s very unfortunate because, in the first two or three years, they pay a very small percentage of what they should be paying.
The village has probably reached its max in development. Maryhaven is kind of a foggy area for me right now. I was not involved in any of the discussions leading up to the [May 1] public hearing. I think some of the board members were a little surprised.
I have some great ideas, but I’m not so sure that, moneywise, the village can afford my great ideas. We have some major [flooding] problems with the fire department, Village Hall and all of Theatre Three. The village is built in a bowl, and as we keep developing more buildings and more blacktops, water has nowhere to go. Things are going to deteriorate and get worse downtown.
If I had a magic wand, Maryhaven would be a village possession. Village Hall, the parks department, the fire department — everything can go on that property. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. I definitely would not want and would not vote for any kind of apartment complex to go in there — we have enough of that.
Would I like to see more homes in the village and more green space? Absolutely. But I think we’ve reached the point of density that we want to be at in terms of building in the village.
How can the village alleviate its parking capacity challenges while balancing the competing parking interests of residents, businesses and tourists?
The only solution I see is a parking facility — a parking garage.
It would not be a subsurface parking garage because of the water table in Port Jefferson. Where I would put it, I don’t know, but that’s the only solution I can see — a two-story, maybe three-story parking garage somewhere in the village.
We do have some vacant land that the village owns. It’s the location, the acceptance or rejection of that location and the concept. Some people don’t like parking garages, but I can’t see a solution beyond that.
Would you support resurrecting the parking committee?
I think a parking committee should be in place. The more people you can get ideas from, the better off you are.
What is your preferred method for engaging the public?
It’s about time that we’ve got a [civic] organization that’s going to take an interest in what’s going on in our village.
I have spent eight years as a trustee, and it was always amazing to me — I’d go to a board meeting and see eight people sitting in the audience. Yet you have all these major problems — parking, flooding, code enforcement.
I come from a small village upstate where their civic association was half the village’s population. It’s a valuable organization — to get information from the people who live there.
I was very pleased the other night with that whole scenario [during the May 1 public hearing]. People were sincere, they were civil and they gave a lot of good feedback. I hope the [Port Jefferson] Civic Association stays active, and I hope they stay in the direction that they’re going in.
When they talk about zoning, I don’t think that’s negative. That’s a sincere concern. The board can listen to the public more, and it’d be nice if even the Planning Board exposed themselves more to the public. I like hearing from the public, and I think that’s important.
What is your professional background, and how does it apply to the duties of a trustee?
My professional background is in education. A graduate of [SUNY] Cortland, I started as a phys ed teacher. At that time, I immediately started my education at Hofstra University, receiving a master’s degree in secondary school administration, then continued my education and got a master’s degree in districtwide administration.
I moved from a physical education teacher to the local athletic director. Throughout my career, I coached girls tennis, boys golf, boys basketball and varsity football. After 34 years in Plainview, I retired in 1995.
One year after the village purchased the [Port Jefferson] Country Club, I got involved in tennis, belonging to the tennis membership up at the country club. I got involved on the tennis board and became chairman, then moved over to the golf side when it became reasonably priced. I got involved with the board of governors, became president and was later appointed to the [Country Club Management Advisory Committee].
In 2013, [Mayor] Margot [Garant] asked me to run for trustee. At that point in time, I was not interested. In 2015, I did relent and ran for trustee and was elected. I was elected again in 2017, 2019 and 2021, and I’m running again now.
I am involved in the recreation and parks in the village. And, of course, the country club is my main goal. Right now, we have a lot of projects going on up there.
My entire career, my goal has been to work for people and work with students of all ages and backgrounds. My main interest right now is to continue working in pretty much the same direction I have been going in. I’m interested in serving the public, continuing what I did for 34 years [in education].
Note to our readers
We intend to interview each of the declared candidates for village office, starting with those running for trustee, then mayor. In keeping with past practice, we first interview incumbents seeking reelection, followed by nonincumbents, selected alphabetically.