If there is any animosity between Lawrence Werther and the other members of the Mineola Village Board, neither side showed it Tuesday night after the results of the 2013 village election.
“No absolutely not,” Werther said when reached by telephone at his residence when asked if there were hard feelings after he had lost his independent bid to remain on the board. “I ran a clean race and I’m very very proud of that, I’m proud of the 10 years that I served on the board and my contributions to the board.”
Werther had been dropped earlier this year from the New Line Party, his place on the ticket being taken by Dennis Walsh. In turn, Werther had mounted an independent bid to retain his seat, forming his own party – Mineola My Home – albeit in an unsuccessful bid, receiving only 469 votes.
Incumbent trustee George Durham and newcomer Dennis Walsh – both New Line Party members – received 840 and 853 votes, respectively in the election. The top two candidates in the vote tally are elected to the board.
“I wish Dennis and George and the mayor all the luck in the world,” Werther said. “Doesn’t mean I’m going away. To be honest, it doesn’t matter if I sit up on the dais or down in the audience, I’m still going to do whatever I can to protect this village. I took an oath and I take this very seriously; it doesn’t go away with the job.”
Walsh had been a staple at village board meetings, attending regularly as an audience member and will now be switching places with Werther on the dais.
“At least for the next year,” Werther said.
“I’m very happy with the result and we worked really hard,” Walsh said after the victory. “We made a tremendous amount of phone calls, we really worked at this and it was something that I really wanted to do, I worked hard and I’m happy with the results. I’m going to begin to learn more about the village and I’m going to begin to educate myself about what I should be doing.”
During the campaign window and at several times on the dais, Werther had publicly disagreed with the policies of Mayor Scott Strauss, particularly over development projects in the downtown area of the village.
At Piccola Bussola following the announcement of the results, Strauss, who ran unopposed, said that there were no hard feelings about Werther.
“I wish him luck,” the mayor said. “He served the village for 10 years, I thank him for his service.”
Werther said that he had attempted to contact Walsh to offer his congratulations, but was unable to get through.
“Ten years is a long time to serve as a trustee,” Walsh said of Werther, “and it’s not easy to continue up there and I wish him all the luck in the world.”
With Walsh’s election, it is the first time in the history of the board that all five members are Mineola High School graduates.
“I think that that really shows the commitment that we have to this community,” deputy mayor Paul Pereira said. “We grew up here, we went to school here, we got married here, we raised a family here, we really are invested in this community; there’s nothing else for us. We’re the Mineola Village Board, there is no four-to-one or three-to-two or anything like that. We’re just looking to put the interests of the village above all else.”
Werther did speak to trustee George Durham and offered congratulations on his reelection.
“Larry’s been good for the village,” Durham said. “Larry was around for 10 years, he did a lot of things, they were positive for the village but he swayed from the way we were looking to move. He was definitely good for the village over the long run but it became about him instead of becoming about the residents of the village. This board now, everybody graduated the high school here, we all raised our families here, we’re all here, we’re not going anywhere, we’re here for our friends and families.”