Greenport Election: Four candidates vying for two trustee seats

03/12/2015 4:58 AM |

One incumbent and three challengers are running for two open seats on the Greenport Village Board.  

Voting will be conducted at the Third Street Fire Station from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18.

Below are brief profiles on each of the candidates. Click here to read more about their stance on several key issues or listen above to a community debate moderated Tuesday night by village resident and business owner Rena Wilhelm.

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Jack Martilotta (challenger)

Occupation: Greenport science teacher and football coach; National Guardsman

About him: Mr. Martilotta grew up in Mattituck and graduated from Bates College in Maine with a degree in biology before taking a job with IBM in Manhattan. After 9/11, Mr. Martilotta enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served in Iraq in 2005-06 and is now a senior sergeant in the National Guard.

After returning from his deployment overseas, Mr. Martilotta earned a degree in science education at Dowling College. He then got a job working in the Greenport school district and moved back to the North Fork. He teaches science and coaches the varsity football team. He ran unsuccessfully for village trustee in 2009.

His pitch: Mr. Martilotta says the village suffers from a lack of “long-range planning.” He believes his extensive military experience with logistics and planning could be used to make the board’s dealings more transparent.

As trustee, Mr. Martilotta says he would push to prepare for meetings months in advance and solicit more input from the community. He would also seek to have the board set clear “priorities, direction and purpose” for local employees, like code enforcement officers. Mr. Martilotta says he would also try to work more with the local school board and boards from other nearby towns.

In his words: “The policies we enact today we may not see the effects of for several years. All decisions have to be made, I feel, in that scope. Is this benefiting us down the road?”

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David Murray (incumbent)

Occupation: Owner of Murray Design Build

About him: A native of Roswell, Ga., Mr. Murray went to the University of New Hampshire, where he earned a degree in business administration. He ran a contracting business in Georgia before moving to Greenport 13 years ago. He worked for Riverhead Building Supply for one year before opening his own company. Mr. Murray served as chairman of Greenport’s historic preservation committee and was elected to a four-year term as village trustee in 2011.

His pitch: Mr. Murray says his business background leads him to weigh all sides of a debate and look for “sound business decisions.” During his time on the board, he says, he has helped to coordinate a deal with the MTA related to the Tall Ships festival and organize volunteers for the event. He also cites as an accomplishment a roofing bid related to the power plant, claiming he saved the village $70,000 through his knowledge of contracting. Mr. Murray says the village now needs a long-term plan to improve infrastructure, like roads and village buildings. Mr. Murray says his experience on the board and in construction give him an insight into how best to do that as the Village Board moves forward.

In his words: “I’m able to work together with the board to continue the good things going on with the village … I feel that our village is extremely well-staffed right now and running really smoothly.”

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Douglas Roberts (challenger)

Occupation: Owner, technology consulting business

About him: Mr. Roberts grew up in another Suffolk County seaside village: Northport. He attended Princeton and Harvard, where he met his wife, Mary. The couple moved to California, where Mr. Roberts worked with an education technology firm. They later relocated to Brooklyn. Mr. Roberts worked for several educational software businesses before starting his own consulting company in 2009, two years after moving to Greenport.

His pitch: Mr. Roberts says he would bring “civility and professionalism” to Greenport Village government. He says the village has lost the respect of residents, something he would seek to regain by increasing transparency. Mr. Roberts says he would update the village website, explore email and text services for better communication with residents and make all online public documents searchable. Mr. Roberts says the village also needs to create a long-range plan, specifically around the electric plant. He would also seek to leverage the village’s popularity among tourists to create jobs and improve life for year-round residents. He also takes issue with what he calls a “lack of consistency” in village code enforcement. The department must have fresh priorities, he says, and treat all residents equally. He also says the Mitchell Park Marina should be more effectively marketed so it can turn a profit for the village.

In his words: “Rebuilding trust with the people who elect this government is probably the most important thing anybody can do on this board.”

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William Swiskey (challenger)

Occupation: Retired

About him: Born and raised in Greenport, Mr. Swiskey graduated from Greenport High School and earned a degree in business administration. Drafted during the Vietnam War, he served 18 months in the military, including more than a year overseas, from 1969-70. After returning to Greenport, he worked his way up from laborer to utilities director in the 1990s. He ran that department for a decade before retiring in 2003 after working for the village for nearly 40 years. He served briefly as trustee in 2008 and ran unsuccessfully for another term in 2011 and 2013.

His pitch: Mr. Swiskey says his experience as utilities director gives him insight into how the village administration should be run. He says Greenport’s infrastructure is in need of major repairs and, if elected, he’d seek to have the county Legislature institute a fee for cars using the Shelter Island ferry to fund those repairs. Mr. Swiskey says he would “stand up for the average citizen” as a board member. Part of that, he says, means encouraging civil discussion between the board and citizens — though he notes that he would confront other board members if he felt they crossed a line. He also says the board must be more transparent in its deals, citing a recent sewer agreement with Peconic Landing that he feels was poorly crafted.

In his words: “I want to be the people’s advocate and have respect for the people.”

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