The Village of Mineola will be facing a major governmental vacancy if the result in the 7th state Senate District race holds up and Mayor Jack Martins takes a seat in Albany – and candidates are already jockeying for position.
Assuming Martins prevails, he would resign as mayor, and the remaining four-member board would choose a successor who fill the vacancy, according to village attorney John Spellman. That appointee would serve until March, when Martins’ term of office concludes. The board would likely choose a replacement from among themselves, but they could appoint any village resident to fill the post.
Village of Mineola Deputy Mayor Lawrence Werther would temporarily fill the office until the board of trustees chooses a replacement for Martins, but Werther said last week he wants to make it more than temporary.
“I will be running for mayor,” Werther said. “I’ve served this village for eight years. I would love to serve the village in this capacity.”
He’s likely to have some competition.
Former mayor John Colbert, Martin’s predecessor, is reportedly interested in running.
Commenting on Colbert’s possible entry in the race, Werther said, “If he decides to run, I’ll run on my record versus his record anytime.”
One Village Hall insider suggested that Trustee Paul Pereira could be a strong candidate for the position because of the large Portugese-American voter base in Mineola.
Pereira himself declined to comment on his intentions, noting that Martins’ election as state Senator remains unconfirmed as ballots are still to be recounted.
“There’s no real urgency yet,” Pereira said.
Trustee Thomas Kennedy expressed a similar sentiment, saying, “We’ll get to it, obviously.”
Rumors apparently are rampant about other potential mayoral candidates.
“I’m hearing a lot of things out there. I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Trustee Paul Cusato, who declined to enumerate.
The board of trustees would have license to appoint any village resident to the position. But considering their appointee would serve only three months before standing for election, it is possible that Werther could simply serve out Martins’ term until runs for the office.
Martins said he expected the board would choose someone “capable of taking the village forward” and suggested that the board may already have a consensus choice.
“I would assume that they’ve already discussed it and that they know where they want to be,” he said.
Martins, who has served with Werther on the board over the past eight years and appointed him deputy mayor, said he’s been “a great member of our board.”
But he declined to endorse anyone as his prospective successor.