In a meeting that saw a war hero honored and a street dedicated to a former mayor, the story of the evening was of , who is . The Village Board then appointed longtime Deputy Mayor Lawrence Werther, Sr. as the new Mayor of Mineola.
At the end of a lengthy and emotional meeting that included an appearance by Iraq war veteran Christopher Levi and the naming of "Hinck Way" in honor of former mayor Bob Hinck, Martins stepped away from his seat at the center of the dais and walked down to the podium, where he announced his resignation effectively immediately.
"It is with a heavy heart and with mixed emotions that I tender my resignation as Mayor effective immediately," Martins said. "It has been an honor and privilege to serve this Village. It has been quite a journey these last 8 years. There has been some difficult times and some contentious times, but there has been some really good times."
Martins proceeded to thank the staff and all of the volunteers in the Village before wishing the Board and fellow residents a safe Christmas and holiday season. "I do ask that you do one thing," he said. "I do believe this Village must have a Mayor. It does not run itself. There's an obligation of this Village to move forward. Do your best to fill that vacancy."
With the Mayor's chair empty, Martins then took his place in the audience. After the Board went into executive session for a brief period, the trustees returned. "This is rather awkward, not having Jack sitting next to me," Werther commented.
New York State law allows the Board to appoint a new mayor until March when the next election takes place. On a motion from trustee Paul Pereira, the Board unanimously voted to appoint Werther as the Mayor.
Werther has served as Deputy Mayor for the last 8 years under Martins. "It is the ultimate honor to serve as mayor of this great Village," Werther said. "I won't let our residents down. We will continue the path my mentor Jack Martins set us on."
With Werther's appointment, the Board now faces a trustee vacancy. State law also allows the Mayor to appoint a trustee to fill the vacancy without ratification of the Board. Wednesday night Werther chose to appoint Scott Strauss to fill that vacancy.
Strauss, who has lived in Mineola since 1964, is a graduate of , Eagle Scout from Troop 45, former chief of the , Little League coach and Boy Scout leader, as well as a former emergency service police officer.
His acceptance of the appointment was met with applause from the audience. "I'm ecstatic, humbled, flattered and committed," Strauss said. "I love this place. I don't plan on leaving."
With that, the Martins era came to an end in Mineola. Some residents such as Artie Barnett thanked the former Mayor for his service the last eight years. "You have really left this village far and away better than you found it," Barnett said.
In March, the Mayor's position as well as the trustee seats currently occupied by Strauss and Tom Kennedy are up for election.