OSSINING, N.Y. When a town justice position opened up in September, Mike Tawil, an attorney and town council member, thought it would be a good fit for him.
"I've always been interested in public service. That's why I got involved in local politics," Tawil said in an interview Monday. "The court would be an extension of that."
Tawil grew up in Brooklyn and moved to Ossining about nine years ago around when his youngest child was born. He now has two children in Ossining schools a nine-year-old son, Miles, and a five-year-old daughter, Vanessa.
"When I'm not working, I spend time with family. I'm really blessed," Tawil said.
Tawil has worked as an attorney for 20 years, dealing mostly with civil cases. For the past 12 years, he has worked for Drabkin and Margulies, a small law firm based in Manhattan.
Tawil has also served as a volunteer arbitrator for New York City civil courts, helping to resolve small claims disputes, including landlord/tenant, auto accident and collections disputes.
Before running for town justice, Tawil had been endorsed in April by the Democratic, Working Families and Independence Party lines to run for town council.
"The town court was something that interested me, but I wasn't sure what the timing was going to be," Tawil said.
When a new justice position on the newly-consolidated town and village court opened up in September, Tawil decided to drop his campaign for town councilman and to run for town justice instead.
"I helped create the court so I think I have a good understanding of how the court will work," Tawil said. "I think I can run the court in a manner that is efficient and financially prudent."
Tawil added that his term on the town council has given him a good knowledge of the three parts of the Town of Ossining: the Village of Ossinng, the "town outside" and the village of Briarcliff.
"Being on the court is a good way to help people in a very direct manner," he said.
Tawil has also served as a member of the Town of Ossining's Zoning Board of Appeals.
"The ZBA interprets zoning laws and rules on zoning applications, an experience that will also be helpful for serving on the merged courts," he said.
Tawil is running against incumbent Justice John Fried and attorney John Mangialardi for one of two town justice seats. He is running on the Democratic line while Mangialardi is running on the Republican, Independence and Conservative party lines. Fried has been endorsed by the Democratic, Republican, Conservative and Independence Party lines.
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