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Suffolk Board of Elections employee named Mastic Beach trustee

Elizabeth Manzella, a secretary in the commissioner's office at the Suffolk County Board of Elections, was appointed as a Mastic Beach trustee at a special village meeting Monday morning.

She succeeds Maura Spery, who gave up the last year of her trustee term after winning election as mayor last month. Spery, who was opposed to the village incorporating in 2010 while Manzella was involved in forming the village, made the decision.

"She's incredibly intelligent. She understands government. We had respect for each other even while on opposite ends," said Spery, who was sworn in as mayor at the meeting.

Hired by the board of elections in 1995, Manzella, 57, a Republican, was part of the exploratory committee that helped form the village. She said this is her first time serving in public office. Manzella, who unsuccessfully ran against Suffolk County Legis. Kate Browning (WF-Shirley) in 2007, will keep her full-time job at the board of elections.

She said her annual salary there is $72,000. She will get $6,000 as trustee.

As for her appointment to the village board, Manzella said she was "very hopeful" she could be a success. "Ask me in a month," she said.

The special meeting coincided with village Mayor Bill Biondi's last day in office, which was brief and simple. He entered Village Hall about 10 a.m. to turn in his village-owned truck and cellphone before saying goodbye to his staff.

Shortly thereafter,he said he was off to Patchogue Village to conduct "personal business."

Biondi said he cleaned out his office over the weekend and met with Spery about pending grants and a light pole that recently fell.

Biondi, in a phone interview Monday, said he will miss running the village.

"It's a tough job. You can't make everyone happy, but I tried my best," he said, touting the fact that he was leaving behind a $1 million surplus.

He stated that the village board, which will have three new trustees, must work closely together.

"We're just looking like fools every time we fight," he said. "From the bottom of my heart: We have to stop the bickering."

Biondi, appointed as the village's second mayor in February 2012 when Paul Breschard abruptly resigned, said he helped bring some stability to the village, adding he is proud of his accomplishments and the relationships he's built.

"Just being there for residents and helping out. It's been a long haul . . . after superstorm Sandy," he said. "A lot of people I met are now my friends because I've helped them in good times and bad times."

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