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New Mastic Beach trustees want great transparency in government

Mastic Beach's newly elected trustees say their agenda for village government includes tearing down vacant homes, recording public meetings and bridging differences between residents and the board.

Challengers Maura Spery and Bruce Summa, who ran on the New Horizons Party line, defeated incumbents Gail Cappiello and Bob Morrow on Tuesday.

The day after the election, Summa, 60, said the first order of business is to focus on tearing down blighted homes, creating so-called pocket parks or selling the lots to a contractor for development as owner-occupied homes.

Spery, sticking to her campaign theme, wants to record board meetings so they can be televised on a community access channel using a $10,000 grant from Cablevision the village received three years ago. Spery said she and Summa will divide their issues, and will also focus on getting storm drains cleaned and roads repaved.

Both say they want to heal a rift between the board and some village residents who have said they have lost faith in the board's decision making. Some village critics say they want to abolish the government and rejoin Brookhaven Town. Summa also said he plans to accompany road repair crews while they work and look for ways to be more efficient with village spending.

"Now, out of that, I want to provide regular services, such as grooming streets and taking simple steps that a regular village should be taking," he said.

Summa and Spery are expected to be sworn in April 8. They are paid an annual stipend of $600.

"We need transparency. Having an open and accountable government is key to having a good government. We work for the taxpayer," Spery said.

Pushing their ideas through may prove difficult as they are the minority on the five-member board.

"It's a two-way street. We're only two votes, but we still want to present what the voters want and let the board make a decision," Summa said.

One contributing factor to their win was that Cappiello and Morrow, running on the A United Party line, split votes with former village Mayor Paul Breschard and Frank Fugarino, who campaigned on the Founders Reform party line.

Spery and Summa said they expected to win all along.

"I'm not surprised. I'm relieved. We knocked on over 900 doors in the bitter cold weather. And there was a lot of dissent with the board," Summa said, citing what he called excessive ticketing on parked vehicles. "People were looking for a place to put their vote."

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