McGreevy out, Goehringer wants back in as parks commish

11/03/2011 6:00 PM |

Incumbent Mattituck Park District Commissioner Doris McGreevy has opted not to seek re-election, opening the door for either the possible return of 30-year veteran Gerard Goehringer Jr. or newcomer Frank Polistena when voters head to the polls next week.

Ms. McGreevy, who has served for three years, said she never intended a long tenure as a commissioner and has sometimes found it difficult to get things done. At the same time, she expressed satisfaction at getting the district’s books audited, creating a new website at and instituting work sessions to give the board more transparency.

Veteran district treasurer John Cushman is also calling it quits after holding that post since 1991. He declined comment about his decision not to seek re-election but has said within the past year or two that he wanted to leave the post, which he first assumed during one of Mr. Goehringer’s terms.

Three candidates — Steve Brautigam, also seeking election as a Southold Town trustee; Shelley Maddaloni, a newcomer to Mattituck from Port Washington with experience in bookkeeping and computer programming; and Erica Wells, experienced in accounts payable and payroll at Stony Brook University — will fight to succeed Mr. Cushman.

What’s more, the park district attorney, Eileen Powers of Riverhead, announced at a work session in recent months that she intends to leave that post, which means one of the commission’s next actions would be appointing a replacement. Ms. Powers couldn’t be reached for comment.

Mr. Goehringer said he’s excited about his possible return to the park board.

“I’m happy to run again,” he said. “I hope to bring some harmonious well-being to the board.”

Mr. Goehringer opted not to seek re-election in 2007 and failed to regain a seat when he did run again in 2009 against current chairman Charles Zaloom. He tried again in 2010, running against Nicholas Deegan and again fell short.

That race was bitter, with Mr. Deegan charging that the board was guilty of “an abuse of the public trust” under Mr. Goehringer’s leadership. The two men squabbled over a park district audit that found “significant deficiencies” in internal controls for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2008. Some district financial records were missing, according to the audit, including logbooks for use of the Bailie Beach lodge, ramp passes and dumpster fees. There was a lack of checks and balances on fiscal matters, including handling of payroll records, the auditors said. Also, auditors couldn’t find records of cash collections and said cash receipts weren’t secured properly.

When the audit report was initially released, Mr. Goehringer defended his administration and said increased costs for gasoline and cell phone use had resulted from travels he and other commissioners made in connection with the construction of the office building at Veterans Memorial Park.

“Let them throw all the daggers they want. It’s all unfounded,” Mr. Goehringer said during the 2010 race. During his tenure, the district built a $160,000 children’s playground at Veterans Beach that, thanks to state grants and volunteer help, cost taxpayers just $90,000, he said.

“We did everything we could to accommodate the people of Mattituck,” he said.

Despite the rancor during last year’s race, Mr. Goehringer said he has a long history of working effectively with other commissioners and elected officials at town, county and state levels.

“I get along with everybody,” he said about the prospect of working with Mr. Deegan, who plans to remain a commissioner even if he wins his bid for a Town Board seat.

“I’m looking forward to it and I would hope this time to be successful,” Mr. Goehringer said.

Mr. Polistena would like to keep that from happening. He wants to “add a voice of reason” and not get into negativity. He believes the park district fails to make its facilities sufficiently accessible to various teams. He promised to reach out to local sports organizations and resolve scheduling conflicts.

Mr. Polistena runs an adult beach volleyball league that has sometimes had difficulty getting playing time and said other teams have also had trouble getting use of the district’s playing fields. With use of state and town money for improvements made at Mattituck’s Aldrich Lane Park, he believes everyone should have access to the fields.

The commission has to be geared to finding ways to serve the community, Mr. Polistena said.

Mr. Brautigam said his past experience as clerk/treasurer for Greenport Village and comptroller for Southampton Town and his current position as village administrator for Ocean Beach on Fire Island give him the municipal experience to serve the park district.

“I’m an expert at municipal budgets,” he said.

Ms. Maddaloni has a maser’s degree in computer programming from Boston University and extensive bookkeeping and small business accounting experience, working with both Merrill Lynch and Liberty Insurance. She believes her skills would allow her to ably handle the treasurer’s job and sees her age, 52, as a plus, allowing her to bring “wisdom and a lot of life experience” to the job.

Ms. Wells said her past financial experience coupled with her administrative abilities and her passion for politics would make her an able public servant. She has served as an administrative assistant for a professor at Suffolk County Community College in the office of multicultural affairs and as an accounts payable and payroll clerk and administrative assistant at Stony Brook University Hospital, in the university and veterans home procurement department. She studied at Suffolk County Community College and earned a degree from SUNY/Stony Brook.

Voting takes place Thursday, Nov. 10, 3 to 8 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park.

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