First Meeting for New Mayor

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New trustees (left to right) Anne Mendelson, Ray Plakstis and Mayor Pedram Bral pose with State Senator Jack Martins after the meeting

With his wife, Samira, and their three small children looking on with pride, new Mayor Pedram Bral’s first board of trustees meeting last week was a low key event and lasted less than 20 minutes.

But Village Hall was almost filled to capacity with well wishers who lined up in the center aisle after the meeting was adjourned to congratulate Bral and his two new trustees, Ray Plakstis and Anne Mendelson, on their new positions.

State Senator Jack Martins(R-7th Senate District) and Park District Commissioners Bob Lincoln and Dan Nachmanoff were also
in attendance.

The first indication that the Bral administration was going to follow through on its campaign promise of “change,” came with the mayor’s announcement of the suspension of existing village plans involving Village Hall and its property, the current public works site on Middle Neck Road, and a lot on Steamboat Road.

The Kreitzman administration had previously crafted plans to sell the properties (including the possibility of selling the Village Hall property to the school district) and use the proceeds to build a combined new hall and public works facility on East Shore Road.

“We’re going to put every village property that’s for sale on hold,” said Bral, “until further discussion is done between members of the board to find out if we’re going to continue or (if) we’re going to put a permanent hold on these sales.”

Continuing trustee Barton Sobel was chosen to administer the oath of office to the new officials as the meeting began, first installing the new trustees. Clerk-Treasurer Joe Gill led them smoothly through the short agenda, reading each item and adding points of clarification where necessary.

Norman Namdar, the village’s other continuing trustee, was not present, currently traveling outside the country.

Those who have regularly attended these meetings over the years were used to having former Mayor Ralph Kreitzman doing the readings and clarifications that Gill handled last week. Bral and his running mates soundly defeated Kreitzman and trustee incumbents Mitchell Beckerman and Jeffrey Bass in the village election held last month.

This meeting probably marked the first time in 14 years when neither Kreitzman nor Beckerman was present on the dais. The mayor served as the village’s leader for eight years and six years prior to that as a trustee. Beckerman served those 14 years alongside him as a trustee.

Another first timer on the dais alongside Bral, was attorney Peter A. Bee who has taken over for Stephen Limmer as the village counsel. Bee has a long history in municipal law and has served in Garden City as its mayor and as a trustee.

After a series of issues were covered by the board ranging from sign applications to tree removals, the passage of legally mandated annual resolutions, and the announcement of several appointments to the Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Board to fill expired terms, Gill asked for public comments.

One appointment of note was the approval of Charles Segal, formerly a member of the planning board, to a five-year term on the zoning board.

Residents David Zielenziger and Jean Pierce, both frequent participants at village meetings, were the only two who chose to address the board.

Zielenziger referred to a repeatedly made request of his that the village website contain more descriptive information on proposed new laws or drafts of proposed legislation, and asked “Is there a chance that it can happen now with the new administration?”

“It’s a great point,” answered Bral, “and it’s something that we have discussed among ourselves. The webpage that we have now is not very user-friendly…there are a few software (programs) that we are discussing to purchase. One of the things we’d like to make more accessible and more friendly is the webpage…we will make some changes to that for sure.”

Zielenziger responded with a comment that drew some good-natured laughter from the audience. “I know you’ve only been in office for a day and a half,” he said,” but could you give us a timetable on that?”

“One last question,” added Zielenziger. “Can you give us an estimate as to how much you spent for your election campaign?”

“I don’t have the exact number on me,” replied Bral, “but I would say $8,000.”

Pierce only posed one question, asking for and receiving confirmation that village attorney Limmer
was being replaced by Bee. Bee’s position won’t be official until the board passes a resolution, probably at the July 21 meeting. But the attorney did sit with the board at last week’s meeting.

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