Garden City Candidates State Their Case

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The Community Agreement Party and the For A Better Garden City Party are facing off at the upcoming Village of Garden City trustee election on March 15. In-person voters will appear at St. Paul’s Field Home to vote at the polls that will be open from noon to 9 p.m. and the voters will have the option to choose up to four trustees to serve a two-year term.

Michael Daab, left, Judy Courtney and Tracey Williams are candidates of the Community Agreement Party. (Photo courtesy Community Agreement Party)

The Community Agreement Party
The Community Agreement Party, according to its website, has represented the residents of Garden City since the village’s 1919 founding. Their platform ranges in topics from addressing issues concerning the water supply and traffic safety, the fire department and St. Paul’s, an abandoned school. The Community Agreement Party also promises to work in maintaining the aspect of village governance that includes a robust Property Owner Association (POA) and trustee system and denying political parties from running the village.

According to the campaign candidates, the POA is a place where residents can go with issues, complaints or questions about their community. The POA then takes those concerns to the mayor or a trustee. POAs have also been historically responsible for soliciting, vetting and nominating candidates for positions on the village board, board of education, library board or any other village commissions. The Community Agreement Party believes it should stay this way.

The candidates running in the Community Agreement Party are Eastern candidate Judy Courtney, Central candidate Tracey Williams and Estates candidate Michael Daab.
Courtney, lifelong resident of Garden City, has more than 20 years of experience in human resources. Courtney has been active in volunteering, serving as a member, director, vice president and president of the Eastern POA. She has volunteered for virtually almost all the committees through the POAs. When asked what she would like to see change, she said she would like to see the community move away from emerging political parties and divisiveness. To make difficult decisions, both in terms of finance and the future of the village, Courtney said a divided board would create an ineffective team.

Williams grew up in Garden City and returned to the village in 2006, first living in the Mott section and then settling in the Central section, joining the Central POA Nominating Committee. For the past 17 years, Williams has worked in specialty hospital sales. When asked what her goals would be and what she would like to see change, she said there are key issues the public wants to see addressed in a transparent and proactive way. A way to bring that to the public, she said, is a “…2040 type committee” where members would start looking at how the town needs to be thought of for the next 10 to 25 years in order to maintain safety and quality of life.

Daab is a litigation partner in the Garden City office of Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein and has practiced in the fields of family and matrimonial law for more than 23 years. He is also trained in conflict mediation and collaborative law. He has been an active member of the Estates POA, having served as a director and on the nominating committee. When asked what his goals would be and what he would like to see change, he said he’d like the village to be proactive instead of reactive. He said he would continue the tradition of attending POA meetings as a trustee so he can communicate with residents and have their needs met.

Visit www.gardencitycap.org for more information about the Community Agreement Party and its candidates.

Mary Carter Flanagan, Lawrence Marciano Jr., Bruce Torino and Charles Peter Kelly are candidates of the For A Better Garden City Party. (Photo courtesy For A Better Garden City)

The For A Better Garden City Party
The For A Better Garden City Party platform includes protecting quality of life, a full survey of village green space to create permanent parkland, creating a fire safety committee, updating the Community Agreement and addressing St. Paul’s, water, the village’s physical appearance, communication, the commercial tax base and traffic safety.

The four candidates running in the For A Better Garden City Party are incumbent Western trustee Mary Carter Flanagan, Central candidate Bruce Torino, Estates candidate Charles Peter Kelly and East candidate Lawrence Marciano, Jr.

During Carter Flanagan’s tenure as trustee, she has focused much of her energy on chairing the Environmental Advisory Board. She is also a member of the village Traffic Committee and was one of the driving forces of the Traffic Town Hall. She grew up in Garden City. Since 2012, she has served as an administrative law judge for the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. Carter Flanagan has also volunteered at the Garden City Nursery School and as assistant and head coach of her daughter’s lacrosse teams, among other local volunteer opportunities. During her tenure, Carter Flanagan said she has noticed an increase in community engagement, which led to local action like the temporary and seasonal ban on leaf blowers. If re-elected, she said she would continue to work on improving communication between the community and the village.

Torino was the president of the Central POA in 1996 and was elected to the board of trustees the following year. If elected, Torino said he would be returning to familiar territory. More recently, Torino was a driving force behind the mayor’s Fire Safety Committee, leading an extensive four-month review of the fire department. Being admitted to the New York State Bar in 1978, Torino started his own law firm in 1983, shortly after moving to Garden City with his family in 1980. When asked what his primary goals would be, he said he would like to continue the process started by the Fire Safety Committee and to address issues concerning equipment and station houses. He said he would also want to address St. Paul’s, which has been an issue since he was trustee back in 1997. Water quality is a priority for him as well.

Kelly serves as a federal prosecutor with the Department of Justice specializing in fraud prosecutions and opioid-related criminal cases. Locally, he currently serves as chairman of the Village of Garden City Board of Ethics. He was also the co-founder of REVAMP, a group of concerned residents that felt “monster poles” being installed by the Metropolitan Transit Authority with no opposition from the village could permanently damage parts of the community. There are currently 11, he said, and the lighting the poles produce “…keep residents up at night.” Water quality and St. Paul’s are key issues, he said, and it is expected there will be a referendum later this year on whether or not people want to adopt the proposed use that’s been put forward by the St. Paul’s Committee or to demolish the main building.

Marciano has an extensive business career working at companies like JPMorgan Chase & Company and Deloitte & Touche, LLP. Along with coaching local teams, Marciano has volunteered to help the village with his business insight. When asked what his top areas of concern are, he spoke about a parking lot placed at the end of a dead end street called Raymond Court. He believes the village should have spoken to the people on the street to hear their concerns, such as how increased traffic or vehicle speed could pose dangers to young children living there. He said he wants to ensure there is open dialogue between residents and trustees, so all can be heard.

Visit www.fabgc.org for more information about the For A Better Garden City Party and its candidates.

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