Mastic Beach officials hope the election of one incumbent and one challenger to the trustee board signifies the start of a new era of cooperation in the politically divided village.
In the second election in the 2-year-old village, Trustee Robert Morrow held on to his seat, while newcomer Gail Cappiello won election to the board, besting Trustee Kenneth Olivo and challenger Alan Chasinov, an ally of Cappiello.
In a close election, Cappiello won 610 votes, Morrow 601, Olivo 599, and Chasinov 593.
Morrow said voters sent a message that they want the board to cooperate with each other and the public on issues that have divided them, such as the adoption of a zoning code and the revitalization of Neighborhood Road.
"We have our parties, we have our teams, but at the end of the day, it's the voters who say, 'No, this is our team that we want in place, and you will work together,' " said Morrow.
Cappiello said her presence on the board will help trustees include the public in crafting a zoning code. Her election also prevents one party from holding four seats on the five-member board.
Cappiello is a member of the Unity party, while Morrow, Olivo, Mayor William Biondi and board member Gary Stiriz belong to the Village Vision Team party that pushed for the creation of the village. Another member of the trustee board, Carole Bissonette, was appointed to the board this month without running on a party line. She filled a spot opened last month when Mayor Paul Breschard stepped down, citing health reasons.
"I don't think it will be partisan," Cappiello said. "We all want the same thing, and that is to improve Mastic Beach."
Chasinov and Cappiello were civic activists before seeking office. They ran on a platform that the village board needed a more diverse set of voices.
Chasinov said Cappiello's election should accomplish that goal. "I was hoping all along that one of us would win, to bring another voice and another vote to the board," he said.
Mastic Beach officials said the village clerk's office should certify election results in the coming days.