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New party sweeps to power in Garden City village elections

Voters lined up by the dozens outside Village

Voters lined up by the dozens outside Village of Garden City hall on Tuesday. Credit: Ann Silverberg

A new party swept the Garden City village elections on Tuesday with five victories that unseated two incumbents and defeated a longtime trustee who ran for mayor.

Cosmo Veneziale, running on the For a Better Garden City party line, was elected mayor with 2,254 votes compared to 882 votes for his opponent Robert A. Bolebruch, who ran on the Community Agreement Party line. Bolebruch had served on the board of trustees since 2013.

Mayor Theresa A. Trouvé did not run for reelection.

Veneziale, an architect, headed a slate running on a platform of greater government transparency, term limits for trustees, no sales of public green space, procurement reform and greater resident participation in government. All candidates on the winning slate garnered more than 2,000 votes while none of the opposing candidates received more than 1,060 votes.

"We brought the issue of transparency to the forefront," Veneziale said Friday of his slate's win, adding that residents "wanted their government to be more transparent."

Newly elected trustees said voters were fed up with what they called a lack of openness and respect for residents on the current board.

"Many of the residents who came to speak at meetings and ask questions were treated with disrespect and that can't be tolerated," said trustee-elect Thomas O’Brien, who is the managing director at a data analytics firm.

"If a resident has an idea that you don't agree with you still have to acknowledge their feelings and treat them with respect instead of disparaging them," O’Brien said.

Terry Digan, who was also elected trustee, said that over the past three months the slate held weekly Zoom meetings to listen to residents.

"We would field questions from everybody and there wasn't a question that was turned away," Digan said.

Digan said trustees should be limited to serving no more than two two-year terms.

One issue that O’Brien and Digan said had galvanized opposition was the board’s handling of a legal fight over handicapped parking. Resident Gerry Kelly, sued the village in 2018 in federal court to get handicapped parking on Seventh Street, which had many restaurants and shops. Kelly and the village settled in 2019 and handicapped spaces were put in.

Also elected on the For a Better Garden City line was Mary Carter Flanagan. On the Community Agreement Party line, incumbent trustees Mark Hyer and Stephen Makrinos were both defeated as were Yvonne Varano and Richard Catalano.

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