There are probably many of you out there asking yourself, why exactly are we a Village and what do these “Village people” do? Well, I am glad that you asked that question. My first column is as good as any other place to introduce your elected officials in the Village of Lindenhurst so that you may be able to come to us with your specific issues!
Contrary to what you might be used to reading about those gosh-darn “politicians,” not all of us are bad. As a matter of fact, on the Village, Babylon Town, Suffolk County and New York State (NYS) levels, we have a very good group of individuals locally, who really do the right thing. But for this initial piece, we will focus on my favorite level of government: Lindenhurst Village.
What Does Being an Incorporated Village Mean?
But why a village, you may also ask? In 1923 Lindenhurst became an incorporated village. In layman’s terms it means that Lindenhurst is a municipality that has a charter from NYS and follows NYS Village Municipal Codes for various laws, thus giving us “home rule.” Home rule allows us to determine our zoning criteria. We also have our own codes and ordinances which protect our local zoning, planning and quality-of-life issues.
The Village government consists of a mayor and four trustees which constitutes the Village Board. We have both executive and legislative powers, so we write local laws and enforce them. You may think of it as the executive and legislative branches combined.
Village of Lindenhurst Elected Officials
Each elected official serves a four-year term. Two trustees are elected every two years so that their terms are staggered. The mayor runs with two trustees, and two years later, another two trustees run along with the Village police justice. Currently, Tom Brennan is our mayor, and Darrel Kost, Joan M. Masterson, Maryann Weckerle and I serve as Trustees. I also serve as deputy mayor, a position appointed by the mayor on a yearly basis. H. John Bopp is our Village justice.
The mayor has a difficult job – especially when you consider it is a part-time position for a Village of more than 29,000 people! We are the largest village in Suffolk County and the fourth largest in NYS. There are more than 100 miles of road, several village parks and dozens of municipal buildings that require his attention.
The mayor presides over Village Board meetings, is effectively in charge, by statute, of all departments, including the volunteer fire department. (The chief engineer runs the day-to-day operation of the Lindenhurst Fire Department, but the effectively the mayor has the role of what would be considered a fire commissioner in a fire district).
In addition, the mayor is effectively the CEO of a nearly $12.3M budget. He also works with many of the local businesses, assists in cultural events and is also able to perform wedding ceremonies within the Village boundaries.
Our duties as Trustees are identical to that of a town councilperson. We, too, are part-time officials, and each have an equal vote on the Village Board.
Inside the Village Administration
There are also many people who steer the ship on a daily basis from the village administrator who is effectively the village manager and the deputy village administrator who works daily alongside him to keep the various projects going, as well as provide the taxpayers a liaison between them and the local government. Lindenhurst also has its own Department of Public Works which handles highway maintenance, sanitation pick-up and snow removal, among other things.
We are here to serve you, the residents of our great Village. We saw the wonderful people of this great community pull together three years ago, when Superstorm Sandy hit us very hard.
Lindenhurst Comes Together
Volunteers from all over assisted in the clean-up and recovery effort as well as providing much needed supplies to those hit the hardest. It is true that when the chips are down, people prove that they are willing to sacrifice to help others I need. Even some of the folks who themselves were suffering were comforting others in worse shape than they were in. It was truly magnificent, and, again, as a trustee of this great Village, I cannot express my gratitude in words for what you all have done.
I don’t have to tell you how proud I am to have served you these last 11.5 years. Please feel free to drop me a line at Village Hall at 430 South Wellwood Avenue, leave a message at 631-957-7500 or send me an email at MALavorata@optonline.net if you have any questions or if I could be of further service to you.
It’s Official is written by Deputy Mayor Mike Lavorata. He is a Village of Lindenhurst trustee who was first elected in 2004, and was successfully re-elected in 2008 and 2012. Mr. Lavorata was appointed deputy mayor in January 2014, a position he still holds today. His main profession is that of an electrical engineer for Underwriters Labs in Melville, New York. He is also a member of the Village Business District Executive Board, OLPH Council 794 Knights of Columbus, the Kiwanis Club, the Mayor’s Beautification Society, as well as the Lindenhurst Cares Coalition.