Legacy Includes Making Tough
Decisions on Key New Hires
The Floral Park Board of Trustees meeting held on Wednesday, March 16, appeared at first to be business as usual, despite it being Mayor Kevin J. Greene’s last meeting in that capacity. In one of his last motions as mayor, Greene delivered a public hearing on Nassau County’s Community Development Block Grant Funds, a federally funded program that Floral Park has participated in since 1982. Shortly thereafter, the toasts and roasts began.
“Over the past 10 years, the village has had the ability to offset the costs of road work construction on Magnolia Avenue, installation of a handicapped access ramp at Village Hall and Centennial Hall, automate the pool recreation building doors, and more recently install the handicapped access ramp at the pool facility,” Greene said. Under the program, funds are received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and allocated to villages based on community needs.
Greene added that another part of the program is the rehabilitation of single-family dwellings, which is designed to help families, who fall within income guidelines set by Nassau County, to improve their homes with regard to energy saving measures and handicapped access. Residents who are interested in applying for a grant should contact Village Clerk Susan E. Walsh at Village Hall to see if they are eligible. All inquiries will remain confidential.
Residents present at the meeting weighed in on the grant program. “Naturally I’m in favor of anything that will benefit the Village of Floral Park,” said William Walsh of Cypress Street. Walsh questioned whether the rehabilitation of sidewalks and curbs falls within the parameters of this program, noting that sidewalks and curbs belong to the village but homeowners must foot the bill for their upkeep. “Senior citizens on a fixed income are running into a problem having to pay for this. I’m just wondering under this plan, if the senior citizens could somehow be compensated to offset the costs of repairing the sidewalks and curbs,” he questioned, adding that not all streets in Floral Park have sidewalks and, therefore, not all residents are subject to these maintenance fees.
“There’s a census map that Nassau County uses to determine which areas qualify for any type of handicapped accessibility,” Clerk Walsh said. She added that the grant mostly targets handicapped accessibility, and it is difficult to streamline applications for specific homes on village property.
The board moved to adopt Floral Park’s participation in the program, then moved on to wish Mayor Greene well, as he leaves office. “My memory of [Mayor Greene] will be long remembered and never forgotten, and I thank you on behalf of this village,” said Mayor-Elect Thomas J. Tweedy. Tweedy cited Greene’s many accomplishments, highlighting Greene’s institution of an emergency management program, a road opening program, contributions to the Floral Park Little League program and the roller hockey program, and, most importantly, his appointment of key positions during his tenure, most recently: Police Commissioner Stephen G. McAllister, Village Clerk Susan E. Walsh and Village Administrator Patrick Farrel.
Resident Rich Pfeiffer, president of the South Side Civic Association, gave kudos to the mayor for treading in uncharted territory during his tenure. “I give you credit because you took stances on things that other mayors in the past, as good as they were — but because of political reasons — didn’t want to make hard decisions, and you did for two years, especially when it comes to the Police Department. Everyone agreed we had a problem with the department but nobody wanted to touch it and you [brought on a new commissioner], which is something we desperately needed, he said.”
As for the rest of the board, they agreed that Mayor Greene will be missed. It was very “enjoyable and educational” working alongside Mayor Greene for four years and under him for the past two years, Trustee James E. Rhatigan said. “We will not allow him to remove himself from other village activities,” he joked.
“It has been a real pleasure to serve with you as a trustee and under you as mayor,” Trustee Mary-Grace Tomecki echoed. Tomecki expressed her appreciation to Mayor Greene for allowing her to oversee the assignments he has given to her during the past two years and “to lead them with my vision” and step in only when needed.
Adding some humor to what could easily have turned into an emotional farewell, Trustee Dominick A. Longobardi joked, “I can assure you, come April 5, for the next year we will blame you for everything that went wrong!” Taking on a more serious tone, Longobardi added, “It’s been phenomenally great to serve my first term with you as mayor … Thank you for everything but mostly for the friendship and for always being there.”
Referring to his 17 years serving on the village board, Greene said, “It has been a success in my eyes, as far as having the opportunity to work with everyone in this village.” Greene credited the strength of village officials, employees and volunteers as a whole for moving the village forward in the face of tough economic times.
Soon-to-be-former Mayor Greene’s plans for the future? He said, “I will join my fellow firefighters, if they allow me to get back on the truck— as soon as I figure out where the back of the truck is!”