The Examiner

P’ville Sees Changing of the Guard on Board, New Police Officer

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New Pleasantville Police Officer Kevin Murphy is welcomed to the village by officials and department brass last week.
New Pleasantville Police Officer Kevin Murphy is welcomed to the village by officials and department brass last week.

Fond farewells and the welcoming of new additions were the focus at the Pleasantville Village Board’s annual organizational meeting Monday night.

Current and former trustees said goodbye and poked fun at Jonathan Cunningham, who has retired after 12 years on the board. In addition to his unconventional style and financial expertise, Cunningham will likely be remembered by his colleagues for having food delivered to village board work sessions.

Joking that she was concerned about how the local economy would fare after Cunningham’s retirement, Trustee Mindy Berard suggested that the village pass a resolution declaring Monday “dinner take-out night” in his honor. She also presented Cunningham with a gift card for one of his favorite establishments, Magic Wok Chinese restaurant, while Mayor Peter Scherer presented Cunningham with an emergency food kit, containing local take-out menus and snack items.

Despite the jokes, Cunningham’s contributions to Pleasantville were acknowledged and his former colleagues agreed that he will be missed.

“You have been a great partner,” Scherer said to Cunningham. “We have tangled constructively on lots of subjects, we have worked cooperatively together on many subjects and there has never been a meeting when we’re not glad to have your insight, your commentary and your vision.”

Former mayor Bernard Gordon thanked Cunningham for his “steady hand” as well as his “tremendous contribution to the village” while former trustee Michael Gilfeather, who helped recruit Cunningham to run for the board in 2003, joked that he never expected Cunningham to stay so long.

“For 12 years, he treated it like his full-time job,” said Gilfeather. “I know he treated his full-time job with a lot of vigor and I think the same was the case here, so we were very fortunate to have him serve us in the village.”

Cunningham said he believes his greatest service during his tenure was helping to hire the employees who run the village, including Village Administrator Patricia Dwyer. Dwyer arrived shortly after Cunningham joined the board.

He praised current board members while urging new and younger residents to step forward to serve in the future. Perhaps most importantly, Cunningham said he has enjoyed nearly every minute of his service to the community.

“Twelve years, we’ve had a great run. We’ve been through hard times, we’ve been through good times,” he said. “We got (it) mostly right; I must say that when we didn’t, I voted in the minority.”

As Cunningham said goodbye, new Trustee Joseph Stargiotti, who previously served on the board from 2006-08, was sworn in. In addition, Scherer was sworn in for his third term as mayor while Trustee Colleen Griffin-Wagner took the oath for a second term.

The village also welcomed a new officer to its police department and promoted two longtime members of the force.

Kevin Murphy, a 15-year police veteran, was hired for a $76,757 salary.

“We put our feelers out for some people with experience and I think we have definitely found the person that we needed for Pleasantville,” said Police Chief Richard Love.

In a ceremony attended by more than a dozen department members, Officer James Okeefe was promoted to sergeant while Sgt. Jesse Wollman was elevated to lieutenant. They will earn salaries of about $115,000 and $137,000, respectively.

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