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Brightwaters board of trustees race attracts four candidates for three seats

Four candidates are vying for three seats on the Brightwaters board of trustees.

Incumbents Bernadette Whitwell and Christian P. Sullivan of the Greater Good Party and challenger Steven Pertusati of the Freedom Party are running for two at-large seats with two-year terms. Incumbent Laurie Elliott of the Greater Good Party is running unopposed for a one-year term.

Whitwell, 36, has lived in Brightwaters for nine years and was appointed to the board in July by Mayor Joe McDermott. She is a stay-at-home mother who grew up in Islip and received a bachelor's in arts in 2001 from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, and a master's in elementary education from Fairfield University in Connecticut in 2005. She volunteers with the Seatuck Environmental Association in Islip and the village parks committee.

She said she wants to continue the progress the board has made. "We're working . . . on an infrastructure plan to evaluate our roads and our bulkheading," Whitwell said.

Sullivan, 45, grew up in South San Francisco and has lived in Brightwaters for nine years. He got a bachelor's in political science in 1993 and a master's in theology in 2001 from Santa Clara University in California, and a doctorate in administration and supervision from Fordham University in 2011.

He's the director of campus ministry at St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows, Queens, and serves on the board for Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Academy in Flushing, Queens. McDermott also appointed him to the board last summer.

"We have made some real progress in terms of modernizing and improving the organization and the delivery of services for the residents," he said. He added that the board has "put the village in a good spot financially, though we also have some real concerns and issues around the physical infrastructure" such as replacing a condemned Department of Public Works building.

Pertusati, 55, grew up in Commack and has lived in the village for 15 years. He works for financial firm KPMG as a senior associate in forensic auditing and budgeting. He received a bachelor's in secondary education in 1982 from Stony Brook University.

He was on the village's planning board from 2012 to 2014, and ran unsuccessfully for trustee last year. He said the village needs "a capital improvement plan that's in writing and that is well thought-out by experts, and with the costs explained so that we can prioritize the projects." He also called for road upgrades.

Polls are open Tuesday from noon to 9 p.m. at 40 Seneca Dr. in Brightwaters.

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