It was standing room only Monday night at the for the village’s annual organization night, and even then residents were crowded into the corridors and spilling onto the parking lot.
“It’s always a special evening when members of the community whom you elected will take an oath of office to pledge service to the village,” village attorney John Spellman, who played the role of master of ceremonies for the swearing in of Trustees to the, said. “The most difficult job that I have is recognizing dignitaries who come to share with us this important event.”
In addition to a slew of members from the , among the 200-plus in attendance were Pastor Chet Easton from the , Rabbi Anchelle Perl of , County , R-New Hyde Park, County Clerk Maureen O’Connell, North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, Mineola School Superintendent Dr. Michael Nagler, Mineola Fire Dept. Chiefs Rob Connolly, Jeff Clark and Joseph Pratt, John D’Avanzo and .
In his opening invocation, Fr. James Williams, S.M. of asked that the Lord “grace these men and all those who serve with them that they might use that freedom to create in our community the place you designed our world to be.”
O’Connell remarked that it was “indeed a pleasure” to return to the village in which she grew up “to swear in a fine gentleman, an outstanding citizen of this village as our next mayor.”
The county clerk recounted from a 1981 graduate of to joining and serving in the NYPD for 20 years, his service on 9/11 to his current position at North Shore LIJ as Director of Emergency Services.
“He’s had a lifetime of volunteer service to this great Village of Mineola and its residents,” O’Connell said.
Following Strauss’ oath, the alarms and alerts were set off at the fire department headquarters across the street at the fact an ex-chief was now the mayor.
“Sorry Joe, it’s still not too loud,” Strauss quipped referring to Chief Pratt, as the siren continued to blare for a full minute. “Maybe I should have ran for chief.”
In his address, Strauss promised to continue the open aspects of local government and the revitalization plan and preserving services while keeping taxes low while “improve efficiencies using modern technologies and other mediums” for the benefit of residents.
“In keeping with the tradition of our village, promoting our community and making it better for you, the residents, the fundamental goal of this administration,” he said. “Government, local or otherwise, should be responsive to the needs of its citizens, not an obstacle to them.”
In administering the oath to new trustee George Durham, former Mineola Mayor Robert Hinck observed that “the power, the political power, the economic power in Mineola resides on Andrews Road.” Hinck, Werther and Durham all share Andrews Road addresses, while Strauss played on Hinck’s little league team on the north side of the road.
Durham chose the former Mineola mayor to swear him in because Hinck approached Durham about joining the planning committee.
“Bob was there for me, backed me,” Durham said when ran for village trustee the first time and lost. “The second time, Scott asked me to take it and if I would be his assistant, would I take and run as trustee. A while back, Scott asked if I would be his assistant when he was senior patrol leader of troop 245; he asked me to be his assistant. It’s the second time that he’s called me and I’ve responded with ‘yes’.”
Drawing a laugh from the crowd, Strauss remarked “George I asked you because misery loves company.”
Before swearing in Werther to a new term as trustee, Nicolello remarked on the contrasting forms of government in this country and the conflicts raging across the Middle East and North Africa.
“It truly reminds us how fortunate we are to be Americans and live in this great country,” said Nicolello, who pulled double duty also swearing in acting village justice Richard M. O’Callaghan.
“How many people do you see doing that throughout society?” Nicolello asked reflecting on Werther’s decision not to run for mayor when he had served as deputy under the Martins’ administration. “It says something about his character and his leadership.”
Werther’s remarks focused on his paraphrasing of an old Indian saying he had on a poster as a young man.
“Treat our village well,” he said. “Our village is not given to us by our parents, it was loaned to us by our children. ”
Addressing the large number of veterans in the audience as well as aware of his very young grandchild, he added that “we will never forget the contributions you put into building our village here, you made Mineola what it is today, you left us this beautiful village that one day we need to return to our children. And to our children, we made a bunch of promises when we were first elected... we saw problems that were addressed, we saw opportunities that were taken, we saw a future for our village to make it better for you.”