Walden fills board vacancy
“I have always been impressed with Jerry’s desire to be involved in our community and I am confident that he will make a great addition to the Village of Walden Board of Trustees,” said Walden Mayor Brian Maher.
Maher explained at the regular Village Board meeting on Tuesday, that he planned to appoint Gerald “Jerry” Mishk, a retired Middletown Police detective, to the vacancy on the Village Board created by the recent resignation of former trustee Tara Lown.
“As a retired police detective Jerry will add a key area of expertise to our already diverse and hard-working board,” said Maher.
This will be the first time Mishk has held public office, but he said on Monday that he has always been interested and in fact, had already been planning to run in the upcoming election in March. Mishk said he had been talking to the mayor for some time about ways to get involved in the village and help out.
Mishk holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor concentration in labor relations, and while he was with the Middletown Police Department, researched how to obtain necessary items for the department through grants and other resources. He also served as president of the Middletown PBA for two years and as vice president for six years.
“With our police department making up a large part of our budget process this April, and with PBA negotiations about to start back up again, Jerry will have much needed expertise to offer the board from the moment he is sworn in,” said Maher.
Mishk said that he negotiated a lot of contracts while with the Middletown Police Department. His goal while serving on the Walden Village Board is to “make the relationship between the different unions and the village the best possible that they can be.”
He said he started going to Village Board meetings out of curiosity about two years ago, learning the different issues facing the village and listening to people speak.
“One thing I believe in a great deal…is being very honest with the people I serve,” said Mishk, saying it cost him an election for the office of PBA president when he refused to make a promise he knew he couldn’t keep. “I don’t plan on just going along with things, but keeping an open mind and doing what is best for the people.”
Mishk retired from the Middletown Police Department in 2010 after he was injured in the line of duty. During a joint detail with state police, Mishk was stabbed twice in the abdomen by a man in a Middletown parking lot. He was later awarded the Purple Heart by the Middletown Police.
Since retiring, Mishk splits his time between babysitting his granddaughter and renovating the house he purchased next door to his home. He said so far he has gutted the structure, built a second story and proceeded with other renovations.
While the project and his granddaughter keeps him busy, Mishk said he believes that since he is retired, he will have a little more time to look into issues facing the village.
“I want to help out. I think I can bring another side of things to the table,” said Mishk, adding that he believes in an open form of government and promises to be honest and keep an open mind.
Mishk said he loves public service, noting that he served as a firefighter for more than ten years in Cold Spring and has volunteered as a set builder and stage hand for the Valley Central High School musical since 2004.
He is also a member of Most Precious Blood Parish and Knights of Columbus, a past vice president of the Walden Little League and former coach of the Senior Girls All Star team.
Mishk moved to the village 29 years ago, where he has raised two children with his wife. He stated that he has seen the village come along quite a bit since he first joined the community.
“I think it’s come a long way, but it still has a little more room for improvement,” said Mishk. “The village has been on the right track. I just want to contribute to that.”
Maher said he decided to appoint Mishk to the remainder of Lown’s term, less than two months, after he noted that no one else appeared to be running for Lown’s seat in the upcoming election.
“It made sense to have him part of the conversation on key issues facing the village prior to the election,” said Maher, saying he knew Mishk was someone that could add something to those discussions.
“I believe he’ll make a great addition to the board,” said Maher.
By RACHEL COLEMAN