The Manorhaven mayoral and trustee election is being held on Tuesday, June 21, at Manorhaven Village Hall from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. Village hall is located at 33 Manorhaven Blvd.
There is one position open for mayor and two open trustee spots. Manorhaven Mayor Giovanna Giunta is not running for reelection. Kevin Gately is finishing his term and is not running for reelection.
The candidates running for mayor and trustee are:
• Jim Avena (current trustee) is running for mayor, Priscilla von Roeschlaub (incumbent) is running for trustee and Roy Smitheimer is running for trustee under the Manorhaven Residents Party.
• Gary Pagano is running for mayor and Barbara Ruemenapp is running for trustee under the Above Board Party.
• Kenneth R. Kraft is running for trustee under the Proactive Party.
The candidates submitted bios of themselves. These bios are published here.
Candidates For Mayor
(in alphabetical order)
Jim Avena is running for mayor for the Village of Manorhaven. He graduated from Long Island University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in accounting. He has 30 years experience in the financial services industry, including serving as president of Cantor Fitzgerald and other investment firms.
Avena is a veteran, first lieutenant retired from the U.S. Army. He is the treasurer for the Port Washington Senior Citizens Center and the Sands Point Preserve, as well as a member of the Port Washington Councils of the American Legion, the Kiwanis International, the Knights of Columbus and the Sons of Italy. He also does volunteer work for Our Lady of Fatima Outreach Program.
In the few months Avena has been a trustee, regular work sessions take place, liaisons for every key village’s responsibly creates in greater effectiveness and every meeting is recorded for true transparency. As budget liaison, the recently passed 2016-17 budget responsibly balances income and spending, while ensuring a surplus is available if needed.
Avena and his running mates, Roy Smitheimer and Priscilla von Roeschlaub, plan to ease parking problems, including limiting alternate side parking to snow emergencies, instituting an efficient and effective snow removal plan, fully staff code enforcement, buildings and public works and repair and maintain infrastructure. He plans to improve the village’s strengthening financial standing and create a more beautiful village, ensuring that the waterfront is accessible as they develop a thriving commercial district.
Avena looks forward to encouraging citizen participation in decision-making in addition to partnering with local businesses, community groups and other villages.
Video recordings of all village meetings will continue and will be posted on an upgraded website, making it easier to navigate and more interactive.
“I want to put the discord that has become commonplace in our village’s politics behind us and move forward with our residents for a better Manorhaven,” said Avena. “This negative, self-serving energy is harming our beautiful village’s reputation and prevents our government from operating effectively.”
Gary Pagano has lived in Manorhaven for 40 years with his wife and family. He served three terms as mayor in the ’90s, with a long list of successes in zoning, infrastructure repair and waterfront preservation.
Pagano decided to reenter village politics at the urging of neighbors and community leaders concerned over declines in the quality of life and threats to the waterfront and environment from overbuilding.
“Manorhaven is at a tipping point created by lack of code enforcement and pressure from developers to overbuild and overtax our deteriorating infrastructure,” said Pagano. “The residents have lost confidence in a dysfunctional government that spends a lot and accomplishes very little.”
Pagano established the first Manorhaven Village Court to address speed code enforcement and residents’ complaints.
During Pagano’s tenure, the village purchased the first parcels of land to be owned by the village in order to create open space and waterfront access for public enjoyment. This led to the establishment of the Manorhaven Nature Preserve and Morgan’s Dock. He was appointed to the Long Island Sound Coastal Advisory Commission by Governor George Pataki because of his recognized qualifications and accomplishments in protecting the ecosystem in Manhasset Bay.
The Above Board Party will focus on the preservation of the waterfront, code enforcement and ongoing quality-of-life issues. Pagano is a leader who understands that the residents have waited long enough for effective, accountable and fiscally responsible government.
Pagano will reinstate an effective snow removal plan that was in place during his prior terms. The four-month alternate side of the street parking will be eliminated in favor of emergency parking plans successfully used in the rest of the peninsula.
Infrastructure improvements are also a priority. Necessary repairs will be prioritized and available funds will be allocated in an equitable and transparent manner. The longer-term solution requires innovative funding sources.
The question all voters have to answer in this election is if they can afford more of the same. Pagano is the proven and dedicated leader who can make government work. The Above Board team is committed to a better future for all our residents and their families.
Candidates For Trustee
(in alphabetical order)
Kenneth R. Kraft
Kenneth Kraft was raised in Manorhaven. He was a member of the Port Washington Fire Department’s Flower Hill Hose Company. Kraft graduated from high school in Port Washington in 1963 and has run his high school reunions since then. Kraft proudly served in the U.S. Army, where his assignments included Fort Hood, TX, and Vietnam. He was a police cadet, police officer and sergeant with the Nassau County Police Department for more than 37 years, where he finished his career with the Bureau of Special Operations as a supervisor of the C.A.P.E.R. Alarm Program for victims of domestic violence and threat to life.
Kraft’s educational background includes an Associates Degree in Applied Science and Marketing from Nassau Community College, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing from CW Post College, Federal Bureau of Investigations Firearms Instructor, U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s License and New York State Education Department Coaching Certification.
Kraft coached more than 1,000 children in soccer, basketball, baseball and softball and conducted after-school programs for fishing and basketball in his North Shore School District community.
Kraft has been a member of the Glenwood Landing American Legion Post 336 in Glen Head, where he proudly served as house chairman, board of directors member, coordinated a collection of 1,500 DVDs for Walter Reed Army Hospital and Northport V.A. Hospital and food drive coordinator, raising monies each year to provide holiday meals for families and seniors in need in the North Shore and Glen Cove areas. He is currently a member of the board of directors for the Glen Head/Glenwood Landing Business Association as well as a recent member of the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce.
Kraft’s hobbies include car shows with his 1952 MGTD Replica that he built in 1980, working on his home and boating and fishing on Manhasset Bay and the Western Long Island Sound.
Kraft returned to Manorhaven in April 2015 with his family after renovating his two-family home. His interest in this village paved the way for the formation of the Manorhaven Action Committee, where, over the past eight months, many residents have come together to express their complete dissatisfaction with the operation of the village government and its inability to address many quality-of-life issues that have existed for some time.
Since October 2015, Kraft has formulated more than 13 proposals that were forwarded to the village officials. The proposals can be viewed on his website: www.kencaresmanor haven.com.
Kraft recently joined with other concerned residents to request a six-month building moratorium (approved by the mayor and board of trustees at April 21, 2016, meeting) along the remaining waterfront properties until a proper study can be conducted.
Kraft hopes to improve code enforcement, parking conditions, the condition of the roads as well as the current unacceptable condition of the Manorhaven Preserve.
Barbara Ruemenapp is a longtime Port Washington resident, whose family has made Manhasset Isle their home for 10 years. Ruemenapp formerly lived in New Salem and Beacon Hill.
Ruemenapp is a former member of the Manorhaven Planning Board and a founding member of the Manorhaven Action Committee. Ruemenapp attended the University of Connecticut and worked for Pan American Airways in sales and marketing for 25 years. Her husband, Jens, is a restaurateur and caterer. He is presently a trustee and treasurer of the Manhasset Isle Civic Association. They have three children and two grandchildren, all of whom attended Port Washington schools.
Ruemenapp’s focus as a candidate in the Above Board Party with Gary Pagano, aside from continuing to push for a comprehensive study of overcrowding and overdevelopment, is for a citizen-responsive and accountable transparent government, not beholden to any outside interests.
Roy Smitheimer has extensive experience in government and operations processes, along with the many different channels available to pursue grants. Having served for 24 years as founder, board member and executive director of the Greater Port Washington Business Improvement District (BID), Smitheimer has extensive knowledge on working with village, town and state governments and businesses. From construction projects to grants for awnings and many different projects in-between, Smitheimer’s tenure with the BID made a huge and positive impact on the community.
Currently deputy director of the Town of North Hempstead’s Business and Tourism Development Corporation, Smitheimer’s expertise on attracting businesses, shoppers and other visitors will serve the Village of Manorhaven’s Business District well.
Smitheimer’s volunteer history is extensive. He was a Port Washington police commissioner, member of the Port Washington Fire Department’s Fire Medic Company No. 1, president of the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce and Nassau County Empire Economic Development Zone. He is a board member of Residents For a More Beautiful Port Washington, the Long Island Development Corp. and the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council infrastructure work group. Smitheimer also cofounded Pride
in Port, HarborFest and Port Holiday Magic.
Smitheimer is a graduate of Alfred University with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and an MBA from Hofstra University. He is a lifelong resident of Port Washington. Smitheimer and his family became residents of Manorhaven in 2014. He is running for trustee because he feels that he has the right skills and experience to improve how the Village of Manorhaven is run.
Priscilla von Roeschlaub (incumbent)
Priscilla von Roeschlaub is running for trustee as an incumbent. She is a graduate of CW Post College (Bachelor of Arts in education). She has more than 20 years of experience in residential, commercial and industrial real estate.
Von Roeschlaub owned and operated Scivon Models, a manufacturer of scientific teaching devices. As the wife of a recently retired rector of St. Stephen’s Church, she chaired the Diocese Episcopal Charities and fundraised for the Diocese of New York. Von Roeschlaub is a former Jericho Junior High School English teacher, and served as director of development and education in her parish.
Von Roeschlaub is a Manorhaven property owner since 1979. She is the Business District liaison, working with funding sources and advisors to improve Manorhaven Boulevard to attract more businesses and shoppers. Von Roeschlaub also established a tree committee to ensure that healthy trees are protected.