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Challenger Leslie Fastenberg wins seat on Old Westbury board of trustees

(l-r) Leslie Fastenberg, Cory Baker, and Marina Chimerine,

(l-r) Leslie Fastenberg, Cory Baker, and Marina Chimerine, the three members of the new majority on the Old Westbury Village Board stand in front of Old Westbury Village Hall, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. Credit: Steve Pfost

A group of political newcomers has won control of Old Westbury's board of trustees, changing the village's power structure for the first time in its 91-year history.

The village is expected to certify by Monday a win for Leslie Fastenberg in a runoff election Sept. 8 -- after months of disputes, two separate elections, several recounts and legal challenges.

The results of the runoff have Fastenberg up 497 to 440.

Fastenberg faced trustee Andrew Weinberg in the Sept. 8 runoff election after the village certified a tie between them in the June 16 election. In the June 16 race, Fastenberg and two running mates waged a write-in challenge, running as the New Voice of Old Westbury Party. Her running mates, Marina Chimerine and Cory Baker, defeated incumbents Christopher Sauvigne and Harvey Simpson. With Fastenberg's win Sept. 8, she now joins her running mates to form a three-member majority on the board of trustees.

Old Westbury Party members Mayor Fred Carillo and Deputy Mayor Michael Wolf are also on the board, and are now in the political minority. The village is to hold its first meeting with the new five-member board Monday.

"We tapped into a well of discontent that was deep," Fastenberg said in an interview. "People were enthusiastic and energetic in their support for taking the village in a different direction."

Carillo, who has served as mayor since 2008, said the Old Westbury Party has ruled in the majority since the village was incorporated in 1924.

Fastenberg said she has questions about the village's water supply. Carillo said decades of overdevelopment -- carving former horse farms and 100-acre estates into smaller, heavily irrigated lots -- has taxed the village's supply. One solution that has been discussed is $15 million bond resolutions to fund the project and new wells.

Baker said he, too, wants more information about the issue and said "I'm not even going to discuss whether we should float a bond," and said that "is something that would be brought forward."

Fastenberg said she wants to make the village more transparent to its residents by opening Facebook, Twitter and Instagram sites for the residents.

"This is what the residents want; I am happy to accommodate them," Carillo said in an interview. "I'm going to get along with them," Carillo said, referring to the new members of the board, adding that he was "willing to share whatever experience I have with them."

Carillo said he did not take the results personally, and thought the message mirrored national events. He pointed to the success of non-politicians Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina in the Republican race for president.

"I think it's a microcosm of society and of what's happening," Carillo said. "People, after some length of time, they want change."

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