Fred is the best thing that ever happened to Long Island, Sachem and Nesconset. He is a hero. He saved my home. If he says someone is picking a pocket. They are! He is fighting for all of us!
Times of Smithtown
Nesconset advocate puts 'passion' to good use
Tax watchdog and flooding-relief organizer Fred Gorman is Man of the Year in Civics
By Christopher Heine
12/27/2007 | 12:27 PM
"I have been accused of having a lot of passion," said civic leader Fred Gorman of Nesconset.
But this is hardly a tragic flaw — passion would seem to be a highly prized asset for a man who is founder and chairman of the Nesconset-Sachem Civic Association along with five other active civic groups. Of course, that is leaving out the six other community organizations Gorman founded and then disbanded once their goals had been achieved.
For his relentless pursuit of excellence for the Nesconset-Lake Ronkonkoma community — like leading the charge in efforts to convince Suffolk County to create parkland near the lake, organizing the Wet Without Relief campaign to secure governmental assistance with damage from groundwater flooding, and demanding a ZIP code change that saved his neighborhood thousands in property taxes — The Times of Smithtown Township recognizes Gorman as the 2007 Man of the Year in Civics.
Pat Byrne, president of the Nesconset-Sachem Civic Association, described Gorman as "a one-man army in defense of the taxpayer."
Nevertheless, Byrne continued, Gorman remains a largely misunderstood figure in the public eye. One reason for this misunderstanding may be due to his efforts to keep the Sachem School District budget in check, Byrne said, a move that some could view as short-changing students in the community.
However, state Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick (R-St. James) sees Gorman's activities as sound fiscal reasoning to accommodate recent downturns in the economy.
"We are feeling the impact of a softening economy with a $4.5 billion deficit. The [schools'] new mantra needs to be 'we can reduce spending' and not 'we need more revenue,'" Fitzpatrick said.
Over the years Gorman has remained tirelessly committed to advocating fiscal accountability in local government as a means of lowering residents' taxes.
In an unusual feat of tax reduction, Gorman challenged New York State equalization and reassessment laws in a successful effort to convince the U.S. Postal Service to change 2,000 ZIP codes in the Nesconset area. Through lower tax assessments as a result of the redistricting, Gorman was able to save himself and his neighbors on average over $1,000 a year, he said.
Gorman's dedication to lighten the burden on Nesconset taxpayers stems from his desire to preserve the town he has lived in for over 30 years and raised five children in.
"Right now we have an economy that is driving the young, our children and the senior citizens out of town," Gorman said. Luckily, such has not been his family's fate yet, as Gorman's mother along with many of his children and grandchildren still live in Nesconset.
The civic leader is dedicated to more than just saving taxes — he has displayed equal commitment to beautification and preservation of the land surrounding Lake Ronkonkoma. Gorman has spearheaded initiatives which led to this year's creation of the county-operated Walter S. Commerdinger and Lily Pond parks, both in Nesconset.
Currently, he is working with county Legislator John Kennedy Jr. (R-Nesconset) to revitalize the former Bavarian Inn property. Gorman's goal is to have the property acquired by the county as a staging ground for ice and regular boating on Lake Ronkonkoma.
Kennedy said he has worked with Gorman on a variety of projects since 2004.
"In my opinion Fred is an easy guy to partner and work with," Kennedy said. "He ... has been a major coalescing force for many of the civic groups, which have not only benefitted but learned from him."
Gorman offered his recipe for attracting elected officials' attention to local causes. "The truth is if you do you research and can back everything up, they have to pay attention to you," he said.
Despite his achievements for the community, Gorman said he prefers to stay out of the spotlight, and remains modest about his accomplishments.
"My real strength is I have a little bit of technical computer knowledge and I know how to put a group together to get things done," Gorman said. His technical expertise has resulted in over half a dozen websites for his different civic groups. Some of the sites take a tongue-in-cheek approach: one that is critical of LIPA's rising costs employs a logo and layout strikingly similar to LIPA's own website. At the bottom of many of Gorman's web pages is the pointed question, "Isn't it better to say goodbye to a senator than your mom?"
When Gorman is not working as a member of Wet Without Relief, Long Islanders for Education Reform, Long Island Energy Surveillance, Sachem Community Watch or the Nesconset-Sachem Civic Association, Gorman likes to sit back and read a good book. Among his favorite fictional reading is J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Gorman said he is impressed with the author's ability to "make the illusion and the fairy tale seem real."
Gorman is also a voracious reader of historical biographies as well as a fan of cinema. He said he considers the politics of Thomas Jefferson and Sun Tzu to be models he follows in his civic endeavors.
Gorman's personal hero is his father, Frederick, who dropped out of school when he was 16 years old to support his family. Frederick Gorman served in the 101st Airborne and boxed with Joe Louis while in the army, his son related.
The younger Gorman said his dedication to preserving a high quality of life for his family and neighbors was a valuable lesson taught to him by his father. "Every year he would take out a loan so he always made sure he had gifts every Christmas," Gorman said.
Ultimately, the Nesconset civic leader's goal — whether he's fighting for lower taxes, preservation of land or aid with groundwater flooding — is simple.
"The truth is, I just want to make this a nice place for people to live in," Gorman said.
Good work Fred.....Now.....How the heck can we find money to fund the increases in school costs??? And you do admit, no program cuts, no layoffs need be.....How about a few "out Of The Box" ideas to generate capitol for future increases, And I mean even if the buildings are used "For Profit"...Let's get some new ideas going...Let Sachem be the Leader in Change....Here are a few.....Rent rooms for Birthday Parties.....Rent rooms for local colleges...These are baby steps...Movie nights...Maybe even lending money....Set up a, low cost, for profit, tutoring program. Charge small amounts for EVERY after school activity.....Windmill generators,and massive solar panals and sell electricty??? Craft fairs? Senior citizen dances and dinners?..This stuff all adds up.... Have we all become victims of the old Status Quo. Have all these laws crippled us from innovation? There are answers for fiscal problems IF we, and "LawMakers" have the will to change....
We have the Soccer fields. A huge property off the expressway. A bus fleet and thousands of parking spots. We could role up the grass and hold a 9 day Sachem Fair over the labor day weekend.. With a Circus in one Corner and a Rodeo in the other, a thousand rides, events and completions. The district will conservatively make $3 million per 100,000 visitors. Over Labor day and Hampton's Traffic expect 800,000 to 1 million visits. Now think how much a $million is worth when we don’t have to follow Wicks Law and other State Nonsense. Think of the Sports complexes, theaters and taxpayers never having to pay a cent for co-curricular. You could call the stadium Taxpayer field or Gormande