The Village of Manorhaven’s Mayor John Popeleski appointed Trustee Harry Farina as the village’s deputy mayor Wednesday evening at the board’s annual reorganizational meeting.
The village swore in the new deputy mayor, alongside Village Justice William Bodkin, Trustees Khristine Shahipour and Jeffrey Stone, the three officials elected during the village’s June 20 election.
Bodkin was re-elected to his position after being appointed to the post in February to fill a vacancy.
Shahipour will continue to serve on the board after being appointed in July 2022. She had tied with fellow incumbent Vincent Costa for the seat on the board, but a recanvassing determined Shahipour’s win by a single vote.
Stone, the newcomer in the June 20 election, is starting his first term on the board.
The reorganizational meeting comes after a public display of disagreement and contention by the Manorhaven Board of Trustees at their May meeting during which board members proposed and voted on resolutions that blindsided the mayor.
The mayor called the board’s behavior at the May meeting “unprofessional and disruptive,” condemning them for meeting about the surprise resolutions firing the village clerk and attempting to remove the complaints investigator position without his knowledge.
Popeleski and multiple residents spoke against the trustees’ behavior during the June meeting, asking for cooperation for the sake of the village.
Despite the prior tension among the board members, Popeleski said the board will “straighten itself out” and go down the right track again.
“We are looking forward to the upcoming year for positive changes and hard work for our residents,” Popeleski said. “I’d like to welcome back Krhisitine Shahipour and I would like to welcome our new trustee, Jeffrey Stone, to the board… We are looking forward to working together with everyone.”
The village also appointed multiple individuals to various village positions. All appointments were unanimously made by the board.
The mayor presented a resolution to appoint attorneys Jared Kasschau and Brian Stolar as the village’s attorneys. Both attorneys are with Harris Beach PLLC, a New York-based law firm. Kassachau is a member and Stolar is senior counsel at the firm.
Deputy Mayor Farina asked to table the resolution as he was not ready to move forward with a vote. He said that he had met with Stolar and they had “never had a good connection.”
No vote was taken on the resolution.
The mayor also reinstated the position of complaint investigator in the village.
During the May 24 meeting, Shahipour presented a resolution to eliminate the position. The resolution was passed by all board members, excluding Popeleski who voted “no” and Farina, who abstained.
Popeleski said the board was not authorized to remove the position as it is protected by the New York State Department of Civil Services. To fire the employee and remove the position, they would have to set up a hearing through civil services and provide evidence for her termination.
Because no hearing was held, Popeleski reinstated the position officially at Wednesday’s meeting and Lori Vlahos remains in the position.
The board will convene again July 12 for their monthly work session, and again on July 26 for their June Board of Trustees meeting.