Old and new faces on Village Unity slate
Members of the Village Unity Party 2013 slate are (top, from left) Jonathan Zivojnovic, Peter Silvestr, Albert J. Fang Jr. and (bottom, from left) Jeff Sargent, Gina M. Pesko. | Photo courtesy Nick Pecora
Updated: October 14, 2012 12:19PM
ELMWOOD PARK — Regrouped for next year’s election, the Village Unity Party of Elmwood Park slate is a mix of old and new.
Elmwood Park Mayor Peter Silvestri and Trustee Jeff Sargent are the incumbents on the slate running for re-election in April 2013. The mayor, clerk and three trustee seats are all up for election.
New slate members include Gina M.Pesko, running for village clerk. Jonathan Zivojnovic and Albert J. Fang Jr. are running for the two remaining trustee seats.
The new faces come as some long-standing board members move on. Former trustee Alan Bennett resigned last month after 37 years on the board and Village Clerk Elsie Sutter said she will not seek re-election after 20 years in the position.
Incumbent Trustee Sam LaBarbera, with 23 years on the Village Board, applied to the slate but was not selected. He was one of six who applied.
He said he is disappointed he wasn’t selected, but will campaign as an independent.
Silvestri said he has known LaBarbera since high school and has no problem with it.
“Anybody can run,” Silvestri said. “It’s a free country.”
With LaBarbera running as an independent, that could mean neither the Village Unity Party of Elmwood Park nor the Elmwood Park Voice Party will get their entire slate elected.
Silvestri isn’t worried.
“I’m not concerned about support being wedged either way,” he said. “We have a good slate and a good plan for the future.”
Elmwood Park Trustee Alan Kaminiski, who was a member of the slate selection committee, said it was a tough decision.
“We wanted to balance things off and we wanted to get the highest quality,” he said. “It’s not a reflection on the people who didn’t make it.”
Silvestri said he is happy with the committee’s decision.
“We have candidates from all over town with all different backgrounds,” he said. “I’ve known most of the candidates for a long time. I’m very comfortable with them and I know that they will represent Elmwood Park well.”
He said the slate is all about building a unified Elmwood Park and building on what the board has accomplished.
“I think it’s a good mix of people and they’re positive thinkers for a future that’s positive for Elmwood Park,” he said. “We need people to rally around the theme that Elmwood Park must stay strong.
“It’s one thing to whine about stuff, but it’s another to get things done,” he said.
At one time, Silvestri pointed out, village parks were at a minimum and the village had no swimming pool. That has changed for the better, he said. He believes his slate can do more once elected.
Zivojnovic, president of Mont Clare-Elmwood Park Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Elmwood Park Library Board, said he is ready to get started.
“I am thoroughly excited,” he said. “I only want the best for Elmwood Park.”