On June 15, Rockville Centre residents will elect two candidates for the village’s board of trustees to four-year terms. Katie Conlon, Mark Albarano and incumbent Trustee Emilio Grillo will vie for the seats.
Grillo was elected in 2013 and again in 2017. He has been a resident of the village since 1999. During his college years at the University of Connecticut and St. John’s University Law School, he worked on Capitol Hill for South Carolina Sen. Fritz Hollings, and spent a semester working as a legislative aid in the Connecticut Assembly.
“To me, public service — giving back to and being involved in the community — is of paramount importance,” Grillo said.
He was the village prosecutor from 2004 to 2013, and first ran for trustee in 2006. He is now a partner at the law firm Goldberg Segalla.
With revenue shortfall over the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Grillo said that finding alternative revenue streams is an important short- and long-term goal for the village, at a time when fewer people are commuting and using village parking.
Grillo touted the village board’s upgrading of infrastructure, like the roads and the water and electrical systems. He added that maintaining those resources was one of his immediate goals.
Conlon was born and raised in Rockville Centre, and is now raising her three children in the village. When she moved back to the area 12 years ago, she left her job as a nurse practitioner at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Since then she has immersed herself in local organizations, and has been president of the Hewitt PTA, a member of the Mercy League and a coach for the Rockville Centre Soccer Club.
“Being home for the past 12 years, it provided me a unique lens to view the village,” Conlon said. As a mother whose children all attend local schools, she said, she believes she can represent wide segments of the population.
“I plan to be here in RVC for the long haul,” she said. “I have the time, the energy and the work ethic to devote myself to working with the mayor, the trustees, other departments and the community to make fiscally responsible and sound decisions and maintain the quality and the charm of this village.”
Conlon noted that maintaining infrastructure would be an immediate goal for her if she were elected. “I think that’s really a quality-of-life issue that needs to be put at the top of the agenda,” she said. She added that she believes zoning laws should be used to maintain public green spaces.
Grillo and Conlon are running under the banner of the RVC Family Party, which Grillo established in 2017 ahead of his second successful campaign. The party seeks, among other goals, to make the village’s parks and fields accessible to youth sports.
Albarano, a lifelong village resident, is embarking on his first campaign for local office, running as an independent. He spent 26 years at the New York Police Department, and worked his way up to the rank of lieutenant and liaison for the Domestic Violence Unit until his departure in November 2018.
From 2015 to 2018, Albarano was also an adjunct professor at John Jay College in New York City, teaching students about criminal investigations, police diversity and corrections. Since last August he has been the deputy commissioner of public safety for the Town of North Hempstead.
Albarano outlined his four main goals for the village: easier and more timely communication between Village Hall and residents, reviving the business district, improving infrastructure, and better budgeting.
When it comes to improving communication, he suggests embracing social media to speed up conversations and make residents’ voices heard more quickly. “Social media is a fantastic tool, and it’s probably the fastest line of communication,” Albarano said. “I think we can utilize that a little bit more.”
“The roads need significant improvement throughout the entire village,” he added, noting that the village needed to focus on improving project coordination and management to avoid having to dig roads up too frequently.
Albarano stressed developing sustainability plans and new revenue streams to avoid shortfalls in the village’s budget in the future. “Our decisions today need to be mindful of how it impacts tomorrow,” he said, “and it seems that we don’t do that.”
The two winning candidates will join Mayor Francis Murray and Trustees Michael Sepe and Kathleen Baxley on the village board.