So you thought elections were over?
Not so in Mattituck, where signs have popped up all over the place urging people to vote for one of two candidates seeking a three-year term on the Mattituck Parks District’s Board of Commissioners.
Incumbent Gerald Goehringer, who has served on the three-member board for 33 years, is being challenged by Nicholas Deegan, who has a little over five years on the board himself, on and off since 2008.
And while incumbent Shelley Maddoloni is the only name on the ballot for a three-year term as treasurer, Mattituck resident Carol Manzo has initiated a write-in campaign.
Voting will take place today, Thursday, Nov. 20, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the park district office at Veterans Memorial Park on Peconic Bay Boulevard.
The Mattituck Park District has a $407,000 budget and runs eight park properties in Mattituck and Laurel.
The commissioners get no salary.
“I think I can bring harmony to the board, as there’s a lot of division between the commissioners,” Mr. Deegan said. “I’ve been asked by several people to return to the board so I can add some harmony and logic to it. I know I can do a good job there.”
Mr. Goehringer countered that most of the divisiveness occurred when Mr. Deegan was on the board. He said the commissioners have done great work in the 33 years he’s been involved.
“This has been a labor of love since 1977,” said Mr. Goehringer, who also is a longtime member of the Southold Town Zoning Board of Appeals.
After serving the park district continuously from 1977 to 2007, he chose not to seek re-election, thinking he’d achieved all his goals. But in 2012, Hurricane Sandy came along.
“It did a tremendous amount of devastation to our parks,” Mr. Goehringer said, adding that this inspired him to get back on the commission.
He points to approximately 600 feet of new bulkheading built at Veterans Memorial Park beach, which was badly damaged by Sandy, as a major accomplishment. The job was completed last year.
“We’re not done,” he said, citing the need to complete projects like lengthening the boardwalk at Breakwater Park, repairing parking lots at Veterans Memorial Park and at the Yacht Club and adding fencing and moving some lights around at the Aldrich Lane park.
Other key projects Mr. Goehringer said were accomplished during his years on the board include reconstruction of the lodge and bathrooms at Bailie Beach Park, enhancement of the Aldrich Lane soccer fields at and securing a town grant to pay for lights at those fields.
“Those are significant issues,” he said.
Mr. Deegan, a carpenter who has been involved in maintenance and construction work, says, “I bring a lot of practicality to these shoes. I’m all about efficiency, transparency and accountability. I think those are the hallmarks of government anywhere, and I feel I can do a lot with efficiency and holding down taxes.”
Asked what he felt were the major accomplishments during his tenure as commissioner, Mr. Deegan said he worked to create the park district’s first procurement policy, take away commissioners’ gas credit cards, prevent construction of cell towers on park district land, add absentee voting for the first time and turn the maintenance building at Veterans Memorial Park into a community room.
“We cut taxes 16 percent when I was on the board,” Mr. Deegan said. He also took credit for getting grant money to pay for lights at the Aldrich Lane fields, a project that cost about $305,000 and received $50,000 in state grants and $100,000 from the town.
Mr. Deegan, a native of Ireland, has run for other public offices in the past since arriving in Mattituck in 1973.
“I like the community and I like to be involved,” he said. “I’m all about volunteerism and encouraging volunteerism.”
Mr. Goehringer has a diverse background, which includes work as a high school teacher, a rehab officer in the Suffolk County jail, a public health advisor, a senior operations review specialist in the county comptroller’s office and an employee in the county’s division of real estate.