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Brightwaters candidates face off for mayor, two trustee seats

Denise Gibson, 47, who was elected a Brightwaters

Denise Gibson, 47, who was elected a Brightwaters trustee in 2012 and has served as deputy mayor for a year, is running for mayor against Joseph McDermott, 46, who was elected trustee a year ago. Photo Credit: Newsday staff

The Brightwaters deputy mayor and a trustee are facing off in the race to become the village's next mayor, while four challengers are vying for the two open trustee seats.

All positions are two-year terms and unpaid.

Mayoral candidate Denise Gibson, 47, was elected trustee in 2012 and has served as deputy mayor for a year. She's a Brightwaters native who received a bachelor's degree in electronic journalism from Hofstra University, and has retired from television advertising. She is running on the Citizens Party line with trustee candidates Steven Pertusati and Gregory Rabin.

Gibson, who's vacating her trustee seat to run for mayor, said if elected she would "continue to improve the infrastructure and protect the place we all love to live," she said. "I certainly hope to practice a very careful and conservative view of budget responsibilities -- protecting the taxpayers' dollars, but also trying to find the many different revenue streams that we need."

Mayoral candidate Joseph McDermott, 46, was elected trustee last year. He grew up in New Hyde Park and moved to the village 12 years ago. He's a structural iron worker. He is running on the Unification Party line with trustee candidates Diane Urso and Donna Barnett.

His goals are to bring "communication and transparency" to village governance.

"I'm running for mayor to make sure the people's voice is heard, to open up the community to the residents," he said.

Trustee candidate Barnett, 54, grew up in Bay Shore and received a bachelor's in international business and an MBA in finance from C.W. Post. She is the village treasurer for Amityville, and moved to Brightwaters in 2011.

She wants "to use my municipal financial experience and background. I think there could be a little more transparency in the budgeting process and the purchasing process, and a little more outreach to the residents."

Pertusati, 54, is a financial services adviser for the KPMG financial firm. He grew up in Commack and received a bachelor's in secondary education from Stony Brook University. He has lived in Brightwaters for 15 years.

"I know there have been some supposed challenges to how this village manages the finances, with the budgetary process and the financial analysis of the monies," he said. "I want to provide the expertise to manage the fund properly."

Rabin, 46, is a Brightwaters native and works as a private manager for a Fire Island contracting company. He wants to work on village redevelopment.

"Our village is a beautiful place, but there are areas downtown where lighting is just horrible," he said. "I want to find solutions to problems and not just complain. I want to get rid of the negativity."

Urso, 45, also ran for trustee in 2012. She grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, and moved to Brightwaters in 2008. She has a background in clinical social work and received a bachelor's in political science from Drew University in New Jersey, and a master's from Fordham University in social work.

She wants to improve "the roads, and there are some issues with the canal," and also questions what the recent tax increases have paid for. "If we are going to raise taxes, are we going to see anything from it?"


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