Residents gathered at the Stenson Memorial Library to hear the results of this year’s Village of Sea Cliff election as the clock struck 9 p.m. on Tuesday. The chatter in the room diminished as 1,034 votes were tallied, but the crowd’s enthusiasm was still apparent. After Village Clerk Marianne Lennon and other voting officials carefully counted the electronic votes and write-ins, they announced that there would be a new trustee.
Deborah McDermott, the Open Government Party candidate, won a seat on the board of trustees with 725 votes. She was up against incumbents Jeffrey Vitale and Dina Epstein, with only two seats available on the board. (Voters chose their top two candidates.) Epstein received 466 votes, and Vitale had 422.
McDermott was applauded, congratulated and hugged by several residents. She shed tears, and acknowledged everyone who supported her. “I’m so thankful for the village and for every person who came out to vote,” she said. “So many people helped me, and this is just amazing. I don’t have words for how much this means to me.”
McDermott is the chairwoman of the North Shore Board of Education’s Legislative Action Committee. She said she has a “deep love” for the village and intends on using her “clear, open and engaging communication skills” as a trustee.
Vitale has served on the board since last December as a youth liaison for the village, working closely with the North Shore Central School District and youth organizations to help them with resources and to promote their events. Mayor Ed Lieberman gave him credit for running a “gallant and vigorous” campaign. “I’m sure he’ll be an asset to the village and serving the community going forward,” Lieberman said.
The mayor, who ran for re-election unopposed, received 645 votes, and will serve a two-year term. He said he felt honored to serve the village once more as its 35th mayor, and hoped to keep residents’ best interests in mind.
He congratulated McDermott and Epstein, and said he was looking forward to working with this year’s board of trustees. Epstein, who will serve her second term, welcomed McDermott to the board.
“I think we’ll come together as a community, and things will be good,” she said. “The democratic process did its job and everything worked out fine.”
In her opening statement at a Meet the Candidates night on March 15, Epstein said that Sea Cliff village had remained a “charming Victorian village” for 130 years. “This isn’t by happenstance,” she said. “It’s the result of village officials who are willing to take a stand.”
Epstein added that the board of trustees has always worked as a team through open discussions and cooperating with residents. “We don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon,” she said.
The board will hold its next meeting on March 28 at Village Hall.