Mastic Beach board rethinks term extension

Town Hall in the Village of Mastic Beach Town Hall in the Village of Mastic Beach is at 427 Neighborhood Rd. Photo Credit: Carl Corry, 2011

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Mastic Beach Village trustees have rescinded a resolution to extend their terms in office by two years, after residents opposed the change.

"I don't know what their thinking was," said Joe Mallia, 53. "One reason we became a village was because we didn't think we were being represented correctly. They didn't take a consensus of village residents about how we would feel about it."

The board passed the resolution in a unanimous 4-0 vote with one trustee absent, in the Dec. 5 work session, allowing the mayor and five elected trustees to stay in office for four years instead of two, starting with candidates chosen in the upcoming March 19 elections.

"We thought to get something accomplished, we needed more than two years," Mastic Beach Mayor Bill Biondi said last week.

But the vote upset residents, leading the board to rescind the resolution on Dec. 19. Biondi said he was not disappointed by the community's feedback and that some residents suggested the mayor have a four-year term, while trustees serve two-year terms.

Some village residents criticized the board for voting behind closed doors. They circulated a petition to overturn the decision.

Mallia said that since the village was incorporated relatively recently -- in 2010 -- politicians should not serve too long. "Their ideas make sense, but we're a new village and right now, they should be here for two years," Mallia said.

Other residents agreed.

"I love the village. I just don't like the way you all are running it," resident Tom Fox said at a village board meeting last month. "It's about what the residents want and what they want village hall to look like."

Trustees decided to put the idea to voters in March.

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