By Michele Justic
We tend to take for granted operations that run seamlessly. You place your Shabbos leftovers, your children’s discarded arts-and-crafts experiments, and all those dirty diapers into your outdoor garbage cans, never to be seen again. It takes a special crew, managed by competent leaders, to make the whole system run efficiently, punctually, and cost-effectively.
The Five Towns is fortunate to benefit from the top-notch service of Sanitary District 1 Commissioners Irving J. Kaminetsky, Harry Beltrani, James J. Vilardi, Frank Argento, and Lino Viola and superintendent George Pappas, who bring us unparalleled service with controlled costs. These men may deal with trash all day, but they still act in an erudite and gentle manner.
The senior commissioner, Irving J. Kaminetsky, is currently running for his eighth term, having served the community for 35 years. He’s been doing it for so long, many Five Towns residents may not even have what to compare our current sanitation department to. The pre-Passover added pickup, initiated by Kaminetsky, ensures a truly chametz-free Passover for us and has become a welcome part of our holiday preparations. Though those green trucks service over 50,000 people and 18,000 homes, they still go to each backyard to pick up trash, saving us all from the constant schlep of cans back and forth. Our recycling program is also handled in the least intrusive manner possible, thanks in part to the district’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), which was constructed in 1995 to meet the state’s requirement that recyclable materials be separated from the municipal waste stream. If you think these features are standard, ask your neighbors from other towns and you will learn a different story.
Even Hurricane Sandy, an unprecedented and hopefully only once-in-a-lifetime storm, which threw a wrench into so many agencies’ operations, only led our sanitary district to work smarter and harder. Perhaps a less experienced sanitation commissioner and department would have thrown their hands in the air, waiting for official communications or leadership to come from above. Our group got their hands dirty, filling truckload upon truckload of discarded mementos and furniture, seven days a week, hour after hour. It was backbreaking and heartbreaking work, facing the devastation up close. We’ll never know what types of disease and pest situations their hard work helped us all avoid.
Yet Irving Kaminetsky, an experienced, well-spoken, yet highly modest man, always looks to improve matters. His business acumen and professionalism have been assets to the sanitary district as he works on the budget, supervises different contracts, and always works on improving service. He takes his job seriously, never switching to autopilot.
A North Woodmere resident for over 47 years, Irving and his wife Sylvia are fixtures in the town. Irving is a past president of the North Woodmere Civic Association and a member of Temple Hillel and Sutton Place Synagogue, also supporting Chabad of the Five Towns and Yeshiva of South Shore. His philanthropy and chesed run deep and wide; he is a past chair of UJA and Israel Bonds and the development board of Franklin General Hospital. He has been honored by Magen David Adom as well and worked with his temple to donate over 40 ambulances to Israel. Sylvia is a past president of the Five Towns Coordinating Council of Franklin General Hospital, past president of the Five Towns Auxiliary, and president of the North Woodmere Republican Club.
The Kaminetskys are truly devoted to public service. Now, it’s time for us to come out and vote for another term for Irving J. Kaminetsky. There’s no heavy lifting involved–simply go to the headquarters on Bay Boulevard behind Costco, on Tuesday, July 8, 6:00—10:00 p.m., to cast your vote. v