With an in the Village of Mineola, several of the members of the village board had time to reflect as they prepared for the annual reorganizational meeting on April 2 at the community center.
“ and pledged to continue our dedication to open and accessible government, to carry on the village revitalization plan and preserve the excellent services we provide while keeping taxes low. We’re doing just that,” said. “We’re fortunate to have a village board whose members share a passion for making Mineola an even better place to live, work and do business in. While we may sometimes differ in opinion, we all have the best interest of the village in mind.”
The village reelected and to new 2-year terms on the board this past March. Pereira, a New Line Party member, garnered 304 votes while Cusato, the lone member of the Hometown Party, had 264 ballots cast in his favor. This will be Cusato’s fifth consecutive term on the and the third consecutive term for Pereira.
“Thank you for returning – as I affectionately call them – the two Pauls, to the board. We have many challenges ahead of us and we have much to deal with,” Strauss said. “We need them both.”
In addition to a cacophony of members from the , among the 100-plus in attendance were Bro. Thomas Cleary, S.M. from Chaminade High School, Rabbi Anchelle Perl, County , R-New Hyde Park, Trustee John McGrath, village justice John O’Shea, associate justice Richard M. O’Callaghan, district court judge Scott Fairgrieve, former mayor Bob Hink, Mineola Fire Dept. Chiefs Rob Connolly, Jeff Clark and Joseph Pratt, John D’Avanzo and .
“I can assure you, their ‘thank you’s’ need no words, for their actions speak loud,” Rabbi Perl said in a benediction. “Blessed are they, leaders who consider leadership an opportunity for service. Blessed are they, leaders who have not sought high places, but have been drafted into service because of their ability and willingness to serve.”
Acting village justice O’Callaghan was sworn in by his daughter Jane O’Callaghan.
“His heart is in the right place and he takes the roll of trustee seriously,” Strauss said of Cusato, whom he has known for 34 years, from the time he was working at a men’s store on Jericho Turnpike down the street from his parent’s store, Mineola Music. “He’s a trusted friend who always puts the concerns of others first.”
Judge Fairgrieve, who administered Cusato’s oath of office, said that “I’ve known him to be a very conscientious and community-minded individual.”
Recalling saying “absolutely not” to a group of residents in 2003 who had asking him to run, the sole member of the Hometown Party is now serving his fifth term on the board.
“I want you all to know that I am honored and privileged to be serving in this capacity for this great and wonderful village and for it’s great and wonderful people who work and reside here,” Cusato said. “Over the past 8 years I’ve always tried to do my best, I’ve listened to our residents, respected their opinions and responded to their needs at any hour. The next 2 years will not be any different as I continue to try to give back that which has been given to me.”
Of Pereira, Strauss said that he “has provided me unyielding support. He brings to you a great deal of effort and common sense thinking. He has many passions: family, his students and the Village of Mineola. There isn’t one that is above the rest for he knows that each one compliments the other.”
The current deputy mayor was sworn in by Sen. Martins.
“It’s truly an honor to have the opportunity to swear in a man I’ve known for over 30 years,” Martins said, crediting the amenities that residents enjoy to the village board and actions taken by Pereira “in order to ensure that our quality of life continues to be the envy of all the communities here in Nassau County.”
Playing on a theme of “thank you” borrowed from Lillian Barnola during the , Pereira confessed that “that’s all I was planning on saying until Lillian said it and I don’t want to be accused of stealing her speech so I had to go and write a whole other speech.”
Recalling his time growing up in the village, the deputy mayor said that “I reflected on my 35 years in this great village because it occurred to me – just by coincidence – that 35 years from now my son will be exactly my age and I wondered, I hoped that 35 years from now he will be able to reflect back on his life in Mineola the same way that I do, the same way that we all do up here. That after all is why I am here, why we are here. We will continue to work to protect those on whose shoulders this community was built on, our seniors; we will continue to support those who keep us safe, our volunteers and first responders; and we will do this above all else to ensure that our children and our grandchildren and ours as well will be able to enjoy the life that we got to enjoy growing up in Mineola.”