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Patchogue trustee election focuses on downtown development

Three incumbent Patchogue Village trustees face a challenge from newcomer John Cucci in Tuesday’s election.

Trustees Lori Devlin, Thomas Ferb and Jack Krieger are running for new four-year terms on the village board. They are running together on the Patchogue 2016 ticket.

In interviews, the incumbents said they deserve re-election for their roles in helping to revitalize the village’s once downtrodden business district.

“We hope to continue to develop the village in the direction we’re going,” said Ferb, 71, a part-time financial adviser. “We need some retail. We’d like to get a hotel.”

Cucci, 59, is running on the Clean and Safe Village line. In a brief telephone conversation, he said he was too busy to be interviewed, and did not return subsequent phone calls and emails.

Cucci’s campaign website says he is a former Army Reserve combat medic who received a psychology degree from Stony Brook University and a law degree from City University of New York Law School.

On the website, Cucci said the village should hire two additional public safety officers in the summer and a public advocate to help residents cut through red tape.

“Patchogue is a beautiful village, and my family and I enjoy it year-round,” he said on the website. “However, for many reasons, it has gotten more populated and with the increased population has come more dangers, and more waste, litter and potential environmental hazards.”

State records show that Cucci is a lawyer whose New York law license was suspended for three years in January 2015 for misconduct including collecting unreasonable fees and failing to cooperate with disciplinary authorities that he committed when he practiced law in Louisiana. He may seek reinstatement next year, state records show.

Krieger, 58, who works as a spokesman for Brookhaven Town, said Patchogue officials plan to add more downtown parking spaces. He said the village uses revenue from parking meters to buy land for more parking.

He noted the village has broken the state tax cap several times in recent years to ensure residents receive services.

“We want to provide all the services that our residents have come to expect for the Village of Patchogue, and we will control our spending,” Krieger said in an interview. “We are probably one of the most fiscally responsible and fiscally sound villages in New York state.”

Devlin, 59, a sales representative for Winebow, a Virginia-based wine distributor, and president of the Patchogue Arts Council board, said village revitalization has included improvements to sewers, parks and the village-owned Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts.

“It’s been great for economic development,” she said. “We still need some work.”

Mayor Paul Pontieri and Trustee Susan Brinkman, also of Patchogue 2016, are running unopposed. Brinkman, who was appointed to the board late last year when Trustee Bill Hilton resigned, is running in a special election to complete the remainder of Hilton’s term.

Voting is 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

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