Parente, now running uncontested, talks priorities ahead of election

Jed Hendrixson
East Williston Mayor Bonnie Parente said vandalism has occurred near village hall in the last few months. (Photo courtesy of Bonnie Parente)

East Williston Deputy Mayor Bonnie Parente remains unopposed in the race for mayor of the village, but she is still encouraging residents to get out and vote March 19.

Parente’s only challenger, resident Stephen Leccese, announced in a Facebook post that he would not be running for mayor.

My decision not to run, was in the end a decision on how to find a way to bridge the growing divide in our community,” Leccese said.

Leccesse, an outspoken member of the community who had said he was “seriously considering” running for mayor, did not end up filing with the village office and said that he was looking forward to seeing changes on the village board under Parente’s leadership. 

In addition to a trustees’ race that will bring at least one new face to the village board, Parente said that being involved in the community and elections is a key part of civic life in East Williston, which she would continue to foster as mayor.

A huge part of encouraging community involvement stems from supporting the recreation committee, responsible for several events in East Williston throughout the year, Parente said.

“I want to be able to say yes more often and allow them to do the things they do so well,” Parente said.

She announced her bid for mayor last month, citing inspiration from her family and fellow mayors.

“In eight years as deputy mayor I’ve learned a lot and I’m now prepared to use what I’ve learned to make things even better,” Parente previously said.

While working as a labor attorney for the last 25 years, Parente has served on the village zoning board for two years and a trustee and deputy for eight years on the Board of Trustees. She has been involved with Girl, Boy and Cub Scouts, village Little League and other community organizations.

One of Parente’s first priorities would be taking a finer look at the village’s building code in an effort to streamline the building permit process and make it “user-friendly.”

Issues with the building code and closing outstanding permits in a timely manner have not been entirely ignored in years past, according to Parente, but they will become her first priority if elected mayor.

Among her other priorities will be continuing to work with the East Williston school district’s board on the potential erection of a fence at the North Side School and the water quality issues that continue to occur.

Parente said the village is divided nearly in half over the potential fence, with those in support claiming the fence is a necessary safety precaution and those against contending it will damage the aesthetic of the school and neighborhood.

Parente said the boards have been discussing the plans and she hopes that a compromise can be reached over the proposed height of the fence, currently 6 feet, as well as the commercial appearance of the black estate gate.

Further assessment of the water quality issue will have to wait until the construction of neighboring Williston Park’s new water tower is complete, according to Parente. Following that, Parente said the board will map out the issues over a two- or three-month, systematic approach to focus on what is going on and how to remedy it.

Often when water connections are opened, either for emergency fire services or utility work, residents’ water will turn brown. The village currently has a warning system instructing residents how to proceed when this occurs, but there have also been instances involving random quality issues as well.

Parents has not considered who she will appoint her deputy yet at this point but said that the experience of Trustee Christopher Siciliano has been invaluable to the board and village residents.

“Many residents might not be aware of all that he does, because he isn’t looking for the glory, but I have great admiration for him,” Parente said.

Parente, who is running on the same ticket as Trustee James Iannone for re-election, did not endorse either of two new candidates, Raffaela Dunne and James Reichman, for the open trustees’ seats, but said she is thrilled that the two are actually getting involved in village affairs.

“Any two out of the three candidates would be incredible,” Parente said.

The village election will take place Tuesday, March, 19 from noon to 9 p.m. at village hall.

Share this Article