Nearly 200 Sea Cliff residents voted on Tuesday in the annual village election. A total of 192 voters went to the polls, and 20 submitted absentee ballots. This year three candidates from the Civic Progress Party ran in an uncontested race, which re-seated two incumbents and a former village trustee.
Incumbent Mayor Edward Lieberman received 186 votes, and incumbent Trustee Dina Epstein garnered 181 votes. Resident Elena Villafane, the sole challenger on the ballot, racked up the most votes of the three candidates, with 198 votes cast in her favor.
“Often when it’s an uncontested election, it’s easy to sort of call it off and say, ‘Why bother?’” Villafane said, “but I’m glad that people came out to vote and had the confidence in me to put me back in office again.” Villafane previously served as a trustee between 2003 and 2008 and 2014 and 2016.
According to Village Clerk Marianne Lennon, uncontested elections are not uncommon in Sea Cliff. “It’s more typical to see an uncontested race,” she said, “and in that case it’s typical to have a low-vote election.”
Lieberman, the 35th mayor of Sea Cliff, also ran unopposed for mayoral reelection in 2017. He expressed his excitement to serve another two-year term, and looks forward to getting back to work.
“We’re in the midst of doing our budget, and then we’ll be appointing trustee liaisons to the committees,” he said of the weeks to come. “I have a few new ideas that we’re going to hopefully be implementing, [including] a long-term planning committee and a task force to review all the chapters of the village code. That hasn’t been done since 1979.”
Epstein has been a village trustee since 2015, and in her last term was instrumental in addressing environmental concerns in the village, with initiatives like the “bring your own bag” law and legislating the ban on single-use plastics. She said she appreciated “the vote of confidence” from the residents who did vote, and was sure the board would continue to do their part to “keep Sea Cliff as great as it’s always been.”
Villafane was also feeling grateful to the voters, and told the Herald Gazette she was ready to get briefed on all the happenings in the village. “I really would like to get into the meat of what’s going on, and really figure out where the board is on the issues that are in front of them,” she said. “There’s a lot of issues facing the board — traffic, American Water — and I want to get back in there and get up to speed quickly.”
The Board of Trustees will reconvene on April 1 for its annual organizational meeting regarding the village budget. A hearing for the budget will be held on April 8 in Village Hall.