Tuesday night challenges to trustee nominations in the East and Estates have created a political buzz around the village as residents ready for run-off elections to be held Jan. 31 in those sections of Garden City.
The challenges were brought forth during annual resident electors' meetings held Tuesday evening in each of Garden City's four sections - East, Estates, Central and West. Current deputy mayor John Watras' and current sitting trustee Andrew Cavanaugh's nominations in the West and Central respectively were not challenged.
Michele Harrington is set to challenge current village sitting trustee Brian Daughney in the Estates section while former village trustee Jon Segerdahl will challenge current second deputy mayor Nick Episcopia in the East.
Here's a closer look at the challengers:
A long time resident of Garden City, Michele Harrington believes many issues are threatening the quality of life in the village.
Harrington and her hsuband of 23 years, Kevin, have two children in college and one in high school. She began her career at Merrill Lynch and was most recently a managing director/institutional sales at Bank of America.
"As a woman with a financial background, I will bring a much needed and fresh perspective to the board of trustees," she said. "My commitment is to fiscal responsibility and quality, cooperative government."
She believes there are "critical financial issues" facing the village which must be addressed:
- Prudent financial management is paramount in view of the 2 percent tax levy cap
- Appropriate sequencing and amount of municipal borrowing
- Achieving fair and affordable arrangements with village employees
- Monitoring development in and around Garden City from which we receive little or no tax benefit
"I would be remiss if I did not mention St. Paul’s," she states in a letter to supporters. "It is a critical issue, but not the ONLY issue facing our village. We have an obligation to maintain St. Paul’s until consensus is reached by the residents as to how it should be utilized.
"The trustees have an obligation to address the numerous other pressing issues confronting us. I am confident that I have the temperament and common sense necessary to move us forward in a positive way."
A 39-year resident of Garden City, Jon Segerdahl is a former trustee of the East contesting the nomination of current second deputy mayor Nick Episcopia.
Over the years, Segerdahl served on the School Districts Superintendent Search Committee, as a director, vice president and president of the EPOA, as chairman of the Joint Conference Committee of the POAs and as a village trustee for four years.
As a former public school administrator who believes his experience and leadership position will be helpful in balancing "fiscal responsibility with a vision for the future."
Segerdahl said he believes in a "representative form of government that respects the wishes of the residents of the East" and is attempting to fill a "leadership and vision void" he said now exists on the village board.
"It is time to bring a future back to our community, a time for rebuilding our government and a time for rebuilding our village," he said.
Run-off elections will take place Jan. 31 in the East (Stewart School, 4:30-9 p.m.) and Estates (Stratford School lobby, 4:30-9 p.m.). Stay tuned for an article featuring the incumbents.