June 2, 2016 – Irvington, New York. Members of the Village’s Democratic Committee gathered tonight at the Irvington Public Library to officially endorse three candidates for the 2016 election this fall: two candidates for the Board of Trustees, and one candidate for Village Justice.
In a unanimous vote, the committee selected incumbent Mark Gilliland, age 61, who is up for reelection, and Larry Lonky, age 59, longtime chair of Irvington’s Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee, as Trustee candidates. As candidate for Village Justice, the committee selected incumbent Desmond Lyons, age 48, who is also up for reelection.
“We couldn’t be more eager for the fall,” said Democratic Committee Chair, Pat Ryan. “Our candidates are all deeply experienced in dealing with the Village and Village issues. For years, they’ve shown their commitment to Irvington, and a dedication to civic duty. They are widely known and liked in the community. And our town is sure to benefit from their deep knowledge and passion.”
Mark Gilliland was first elected to the Board of Trustees in 2012. His achievements over the past four years have been extensive. He recently helped formulate and roll out Irvington’s very visible and successful “Slow Down Irvington” traffic safety campaign. He is determined to continue his work on improving public safety with the new “Walk Safe” pedestrian safety initiative. Gilliland initiated the Village’s “Be Water Wise” campaign and the lawn irrigation-focused “Save Water Save Money” campaign with an eye toward environmental, conservation and affordability concerns. In the past, Gilliland helped develop and pass an updated Tree Preservation code, enhanced sign and awning regulations that better protect the historic feel of the Village, as well as requirements for affordable housing in multi-family or multi-home development. During budget planning, he contributes a strong environmental and sustainability perspective to the annual process. In the future, he hopes to promote, “an even stronger focus on and commitment to the Village’s Climate Smart community pledge and sustainability goals.”
In a period of increasing pressure on Irvington to allow denser growth, Gilliland understands the importance of a timely update to the 2003 Comprehensive Plan regarding larger tracts of land and what the community can accept to be built. “I want to ensure that Irvington remains a great place to live and raise a family,” Gilliland said. “Together, we need to address many pressing issues relating to managing growth and taxes. By continuing the tradition of the last several years, keeping the year-to-year operating budget with very modest inflationary level gains, we believe that the Village should also be able to invest in infrastructure and long range capital improvements, such as those recommended in the Main Street Streetscape Plan, that will insure a thriving community for generations to come.”
Prior to his election, Gilliland’s contributions to the village’s environmental efforts were many: he was instrumental in the implementation of the “Love ‘Em & Leave ‘Em” (LELE) leaf mulching initiative, for which he produced an analysis of potential municipal cost savings resulting from the program, and volunteered on a number of Village commissions and task forces, including the Climate Protection Task Force, Green Policy Task Force, Tree Commission (chair), Environmental Conservation Board and the Irvington Beautification Committee.
Larry Lonky has been a resident of Irvington since 1985. In 2004, he was named to the Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee (RPAC); in 2011, he succeeded Bob Munigle as Chair. In that capacity, he has been centrally involved in budgeting and programming, parks projects, and planning. His role on RPAC has given him firsthand knowledge of the interactions among all of Irvington’s departments, supervisors, workers and the Board of Trustees. Lonky’s RPAC work, his involvement in the community and his optometry practice give him a rich sense of Irvington and the needs of its citizens.
“For the past 30 years,” he said, “in my optometric offices in the Rivertowns, I’ve examined and listened to my Irvington friends and neighbors. I’ve met young families, senior citizens, Village police and public service workers, empty nesters and professionals. The reasons people live in Irvington are the same now as they were when my wife Nancy and I moved here in 1985. We have a historic, tight knit community, blessed with abundant parkland, dedicated public servants, a charming Main Street leading down to the Hudson River. How do we maintain the balance between lifestyle and affordability? As we confront the issues of further development and rising taxes, we must be mindful of our volunteers and public workers, the fabric of our community.”
Lonky, his wife Nancy, and their family have long been involved in the community, availing themselves of the opportunities offered by the Village including the Town Hall Theater, the Historical Society, town celebrations, coaching and attending school games and concerts. “But,” he says, “raising money to build the basketball court at Scenic Hudson in honor of my friend, Bob Speisman, a victim of the 9/11 attack, changed my involvement in the Irvington community. I want to thank the Irvington Democratic Committee for affording me the opportunity to further serve my community as a member of the Board of Trustees, and look forward to helping my fellow members to reach consensus and help Irvington move forward.”
Desmond Lyons has served as Village Justice since 2010. Lyons is a lifelong resident of Irvington who lives in the Village with his wife of nearly 14 years, Kerry, and their five children. Prior to his current position, he served as Village Prosecutor for almost a decade. A practicing lawyer for more than 20 years, and a founding partner of a White plains-based firm, Lyons’ private practice focuses on representing municipal entities, businesses, not-for-profit corporations and individuals as general counsel and in contractual and civil litigation.
“As Village Judge,” Lyons said, “I am humbled and honored to have the privilege of playing a small part in the life of our village. Each time I take the bench, I strive to treat everyone who appears before me with the utmost respect, professionalism and courtesy, recognizing that the Court process for most is an extremely intimidating experience and the Village Court may be their only interaction with the Court system.”
The Irvington Democratic Committee released a statement noting that they “could not be more pleased that these distinguished and experienced public servants have accepted the committee’s nominations. We consider it a sign of Irvington’s distinctiveness that such outstanding candidates have stepped forward to play an important role in our Village’s future. We look forward to a very positive and productive period in town government.”
Further inquiries may be directed to Pat Ryan at: 914-591-7809 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the Irvington Democratic Committee please visit the committee’s Facebook page: facebook.com/Irvington.Democratic.Committee.