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Candidate Spotlight: Stephen McGiff [VIDEO]

Stephen McGiff is the incumbent candidate for Patchogue Village trustee on the Residents First slate.

With the Patchogue Village Mayoral Election coming up on March 20, Patchogue Patch has sat down with all of the candidates for Q&A and for a quick video pitch on why you should vote for them. Check back to Patchogue Patch this week for spotlights on the trustee candidates from Patchogue 2012 and Residents First.

Stephen McGiff

Candidate: Trustee (Incumbent)

Party: Residents First

Patch: Why have you decided to seek office and what makes you qualified to serve as a trustee/mayor?

McGiff: I have had the honor and privilege of serving this community for the past 8 years. I think my background and skill set brings a certain perspective to the board; I have served as an infantry officer, prosecutor, and now small business owner. I feel my legal training assists me in analyzing problems and crafting a solution. I think I have been an independent thinker and an asset to this board.

Patch: What are your thoughts on Patchogue's growth over the past five years?

McGiff: Patchogue has indeed undergone a renaissance, fueled by the theater, the burgeoning arts scene, and Main Street. The challenge ahead lies in diversifying Main Street, ie. attracting a retail/small business component, and ensuring that the housing stock does not reach the saturation point. We are at a crossroads with the proposed rental complex on the Four Corner, which may indeed prove to be our undoing.

Patch: What are the two biggest issues Patchogue still faces?

McGiff: The Four Corners and taxes.

Patch: Are you for or against project and why?

McGiff: I am against the present project, as it transformed from one that had community support into one which had no community input. This plan is neither the mayor’s plan nor the community’s plan; it is Tritec’s plan. The parking scheme is flawed as it essentially adds 275 parking spaces for 291 rental units, in addition to some 40,000 sq. feet of retail space. Do the math. It is not a true mixed use project.

Patch: What kind of time commitment would you be able to put toward the mayor/trustee position?

McGiff: As much time as needed. In the past eight years, I have communicated with the Building Department, in addition to Public Safety on a daily basis. My is on South Ocean Avenue, close to Village Hall. It is common for various inspectors and employees to stop by my office to meet. I will continue to be at Village Hall whenever summoned or needed.

Patch: In what ways would you reach out to Patchogue's large Hispanic community?

McGiff: We have made great strides in the past four years, but much remains to be done. We now have Spanish speaking employees in all departments, which was not the case when we first took office. I would like to see more communication and outreach. I think the library is a great vehicle, as well as the various churches, in which to open the lines of communication.

Patch: What's your goal for the makeup of Patchogue's Main Street at the end of the next four years?

McGiff: I would like to see more true retail on Main Street, in addition to enticing small service-based business to the area. The insurance business on South Ocean brings 30 people to the area on a daily basis. We need more of that foot traffic during the day. I would love to see a cyber/high tech incubator in the village, our own version of Silicon Valley. With the Brookhaven Lab and Stony Brook University so close, they would make good partners in a venture such as this.

Patch: There are many vacancies on Main Street; how would you propose enticing new businesses to open up in Patchogue?

McGiff: It is a problem when you have absentee landlords who would rather a property lie vacant for tax purposes than have it occupied. We need to aggressively meet with these landlords to see how we can partner with them to attract new businesses to the area. It has been done, as in /, which was brokered by Gerry Crean. The key was we had a willing partner in that particular landlord.

Patch: What are three of your hobbies?

McGiff: With a wife and three small children, in addition to a law practice and village duties, my time for hobbies is limited! I try to follow baseball and basketball, two sports I played in high school. I usually have a couple of books I am reading. I play the bagpipes and piano, and I am going to try to play more in the next year. If you hear the pipes at , it may be me.

Patch: How would your best friends/family describe you?

McGiff: Loyal, hardworking, steady, down to earth.

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