The new Jake’s 58 casino in Islandia has brought the village its first contested election in a decade, with the mayor and two trustee seats being challenged.
Incumbent Mayor Allan Dorman, seeking his fourth term, is running on the Volunteers of Islandia slate with incumbent Trustee Michael Zaleski and newcomer trustee candidate Burhan Kisla in the March 21 election.
Incumbent Trustee Diane Olk is running for re-election on the Unity For Our Community slate with former Trustee Neil J. Munro, who is running for mayor, and newcomer Mario Carbellano seeking a trustee spot.
The terms for mayor and trustee are four years.
Dorman, 66, has lived in Islandia for 38 years. He’s a retired business manager at United Parcel Service, and a Marine Corps Vietnam veteran. He’s the founder and first commander of the Islandia VFW, and president of the Suffolk County Village Officials Association.
Dorman said the casino contract has benefited residents and pledged to uphold the original agreement for 1,000 video lottery machines at Jake’s 58. If re-elected, Dorman said he would “continue the trends we’ve accomplished over the years. The residents are very pleased with it,” he said, citing free senior bus service and elimination of garbage collection fees.
Munro, 54, has lived in Islandia since 1986 and grew up in Hauppauge. He received an associate degree from Suffolk Community College in criminal justice and is a manager at Staller Associates. He was trustee from 2005 to 2009 and served as deputy mayor for part of the time. Munro said the casino agreement ignored residents’ worries about potential traffic and crime. “The public should have had a voice,” he said.
Munro said the village is “mismanaged,” and added, “I would love to see the village board remove all the conflicts that are involved, from being a board member-slash-employee,” he said, noting that Zaleski is both a trustee and the fire marshal.
Carbellano, 59, has lived in Islandia for 27 years. He’s a security officer for the Department of Homeland Security, a retired city correction officer and was a 9/11 first responder. He was a village code enforcement officer from 2005 to 2014.
Carbellano said he’s running because he thinks the village board approved the casino contract over residents’ objections. “I think it should have went out to the residents so we could have got their feedback and see what the majority wanted,” he said. He also favors reinstating term limits for elected officials.
Kisla, 54, has lived in Islandia for 15 years. He grew up in East Meadow and in Turkey. He owns the B&P Auto Service station on Veterans Highway in Islandia, as well as two businesses in Manhattan and Smithtown. “I’m involved with Long Island residents and I always help them out,” he said.
Olk did not respond to calls seeking comment. According to public records and campaign literature, she is 59 and has lived in Islandia for 26 years. She works in the medical field and was first elected trustee in 2005, and served as deputy mayor from 2007 to 2016. She’s also a member of the League of Women Voters.
Olk was the sole board member who was not present at the casino contract vote in August after criticizing the way the contract was managed. She said in an emailed statement, “I’m running to be a voice for the residents. . . . We need to be more fiscally responsible, and have high standards of honesty and transparency. We need to stop unnecessary reckless spending.”
Zaleski, 49, has lived in the village for 16 years and is the fire marshal for Islandia as well as a volunteer firefighter in Central Islip. He was first elected to the board of trustees in 2008 and appointed deputy mayor last year. If re-elected, Zaleski said, he would continue “improving our quality of life” including more business development.
“Something we want to do is attract more business to the village, a little more for our residents to enjoy,” he said.