With what was an interesting election cycle this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, village residents voted for who they wanted to be their next village justice last Tuesday at village hall. The winner is Scott Fairgrieve, who received 711 votes while incumbent Village Justice Steven Barnwell received 617 votes.
“I wish to thank the voters of Mineola for their trust and confidence in electing me Mineola Village Justice,” Fairgrieve said. “I want to thank the hundreds of people who went out of their way to make this possible. I will work very hard to do a good job in this new position.”
Fairgrieve, who has been a Mineola resident for 42 years, will still be allowed to practice law now that he is the new village justice, after pondering whether or not he would still be able to practice due to New York State’s Constitutional age limitations for judicial positions.
“I’m a full-time judge for 20 years and I’m an acting county court judge right now,” Fairgrieve said back in March of this year. “I have to retire this year because it’s in the New York State Constitution. John O’Shea unfortunately died and the Mineola justice is part-time and I decided that I want to run for it. I want to continue as a judge. I have much more to give and I want to continue serving the community of Mineola. I like the people and the community. They’re all hardworking and community-oriented.”
During his career, Fairgrieve, who is a graduate of Adelphi University and St. John’s Law School, has been found “well qualified” by the Nassau County Bar Association five times—a highest rating honor, has published more than 300 decisions and is an adjunct professor at Long Island University, teaching business law.
As a practicing attorney for 24 years, Fairgrieve said he became a judge because he likes people, academics and writing. Those three aspects allowed him to combine everything into one profession.
Fairgrieve is often a guest speaker at Mineola, Roslyn, Wheatley, North Shore, Manhasset, Sewanhaka high schools and other community organizations where he gives talks about the dangers of DWI, the use of false identification documents, speeding and drug use. In addition, Fairgrieve is a board member and speaker chairperson of County Seat Kiwanis, a judge for Moot Court at St. Aidan’s Grammar School, a board member for the NHP-Mineola Runners and Greater Long Island Running clubs, a member and past advocate for the Knights of Columbus-Corpus Christi Council and a past board member of the Mineola Chamber of Commerce.
From 1982-94, Fairgrieve was village trustee and at one point was also deputy mayor of Mineola.
“I was there with [mayor] Ann Galante and was the one who proposed the recreation program [and] we got trees on Jericho Turnpike,” Fairgrieve said.
Fairgrieve was the co-founder, director and volunteer of the Mineola Mustang Run, which ran for 25 years. The event benefited the Mineola Fire Department, Mineola Junior Fire Department, Mineola Auxiliary Police, Mineola Volunteer Ambulance Corps., Mineola Athletic Association, Mineola School District and the Boys and Girls Scouts.
“Thank you to all the voters and residents of Mineola,” Barnwell, who was appointed as village justice John O’Shea’s replacement in January, said in a statement. “During a national health crises and an election that was canceled for six months, you all stayed interested and active in supporting your candidates. Then you turned out in large numbers for the vote. A very special thank you to all those who supported me. It was an honor to have your support and a pleasure to have worked with all of you. In particular, Mayor Strauss, Deputy Mayor Paul Pereira, Trustee Dennis Walsh and Trustee George Durham. But even more than them, I want to thank all my neighbors and friends who lent their support in every possible way. Thank you all.”
Also winning reelection is trustee Paul Cusato and deputy mayor Paul Pereira, who were both unopposed. Cusato received 840 votes while Pereira received 997 votes.