Eighteen-year incumbent Mayor Stephen Mahler is being challenged by newcomer George Pappas for the Village of Atlantic Beach's top elected two-year position.
Mahler, 75, a Queens lawyer with no major political affiliation, who was a village trustee before becoming mayor in 1996, criticized what he characterized as Pappas' inexperience in the village and his ties to the Republican Party.
"Instead of running for trustee and trying to learn first, he just wants to go to the head of the class," Mahler said. "If the GOP guys ever get in, it would be a terribly regressive step in the village."
Mahler is running on the Atlantic Beach Integrity Party line; Pappas, on the Peoples Party of the Village of Atlantic Beach Incorporated.
Pappas said the criticism was unfounded.
"I'm running this out of my kitchen, supported by friends and neighbors. There is no GOP involvement," said Pappas, 44, who is the superintendent of the Town of Hempstead's independent Sanitary District No. 1, based in Lawrence.
Mahler said things are going "pretty good" in the village, "except we're still recovering from [2012's superstorm] Sandy.
"We're hoping that when the New York Rising money comes in, our main project will be to rebuild our tennis center into an all-year-around facility -- a small recreation center."
The two men differ on issues.
Pappas says Mahler has become too comfortable in the job and is neglecting the community, especially the roads. "Just about everybody I know here," said Pappas, a 12-year resident, "thinks their street is the worst in the village. As for Sandy, the mayor was a no-show here."
Mahler says Pappas, in his town sanitary job, has "a glaring conflict of interest. When there's something like Sandy, I had to be here day and night, helping in all kinds of ways. I work for myself and can do that. Pappas can't. He would have to do it on the taxpayers' dime."
Mahler is a graduate of Adelphi and New York University School of Law. Pappas attended Nassau Community College and studied finance at the New York Technical Institute.