Readers Write: Potential conflicts in Stellato-Villegas run for parks commissioner

Readers Write: Potential conflicts in Stellato-Villegas run for parks commissioner

The candidacy of Ms. Stellato-Villegas for park commissioner has unusual complications. She and her husband are both paid by the park district, she being a tennis “scheduler” part-time and he being the director of tennis: staff, supervision, programs, evaluations, facilities – in other words, the full extent of the large tennis component of what our park district provides to our community.

Were she elected, New York State law (and federal law) on nepotism comes into play, preventing the park district from renewing her husband’s contract, and it is a matter of much speculation why she would put her husband’s job in jeopardy. That is her personal matter.

There is a public concern that should the park district be forced to lose its tennis director, this would cause a protracted search for a new tennis director, and the tennis program would be without leadership and stability.

For me, the concern is the welfare of the park district and the rest of us. Were this candidate to be elected, until her husband’s contract terminates, she would have to recuse herself from all matters relating to her husband. This would mean that our park district would too often be in the hands of two, not three, commissioners.

There is a reason boards have odd numbers: park commissioners, three; school board, five; fire companies, village and library, five and seven; Supreme Court, nine. An odd number guarantees a minority view and a tie-breaker. Two doing the work of three means if one were to be sick, the business of the park district comes to a halt.

For me as a voter, her candidacy costs us money and bodes legal trouble, with the residents the losers. If she wants to serve the public, there are other municipalities on this peninsula where she could run for office without these pitfalls.


Rebecca Rosenblatt Gilliar

Great Neck

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