The upcoming Dec. 9 Great Neck Park District commissioner election has two seats available. Commissioner Dan Nachmanoff is seeking re-election to a three-year term, opposed by Neil Lieberman. Frank Cilluffo and Sharon Epstein are seeking election to the remaining two years of former commissioner Ruth Tamarin’s term. Nachmanoff announced his candidacy earlier this summer, with an article in the Great Neck Record. This week, Cilluffo and Epstein make their announcements. Leiberman will announce his candidacy in a future issue.
All information in the Record articles come directly from the candidates.
Frank Cilluffo is a long-time Great Neck resident. He is a retired New York City Police officer and Police Academy graduate, with a degree in information technology. During his tenure on the police force, in addition to being a patrolman and crime scene investigator, he was the community affairs organizer, N.Y.C. Parks Department liaison and public-safety director in Brooklyn. He also worked with the U.S. State Department for Security. Cilluffo has guarded two U.S. presidents, as well as foreign dignitaries, during their visits to New York. Cilluffo served on the PBA and Columbian Association as an elected board member. He is currently coaching in the Great Neck Hockey programs for both abled and disabled youths and serves on the GN Parkwood Rink advisory committee. He sits on the Board of Safe Sports, focusing on safety and anti-bullying programs as the Great Neck FSC officer. His focus is to promote park safety, valuable sports programs, senior/retiree events, bike-path development, a weekly farmers market, garden clubs and green-space revitalization. He is married to Lisa Reisfield and has an 11-year-old daughter, Francesca.
For the past 20 years Cilluffo is proud that he has dedicated himself to public service and community development. He told the Record that he is running for park commissioner with the primary objective of making “Great Neck Parks even greater.” His major focus is to improve the youth and adult sports programs associated with the park district and to further develop the unused green space throughout the town specifically for community gardens, bike paths and historical preservation. Cilluffo is addressing senior events to promote participation by our Great Neck senior community. He is focused on continuing and improving the Bridge Club, Canasta Club, Movie Night, concerts, the senior exercise and health programs with emphasis on value for the senior adult community as well as Great Neck’s youth. He and his wife are affiliated with the National Arbor Society, which will keep Great Neck on the map for its “green” beauty. He hopes to implement a “smart” growth plan for grounds, sports fields and facilities maintenance and programs.
Cilluffo will also focus on ‘partnerships’ for parks, pool facilities, PAL, Little League, Great Neck Figure Skating Club, Garden Club, etc., to develop and improve joint programs that will promote greater community support and involvement in Great Neck’s neighborhood parks, with a new emphasis on expanding our community volunteer efforts through our local temples, churches, schools and local law enforcement.
As a commissioner, Cilluffo would provide wise counsel, fiscal responsibility and good judgment to make our community parks and recreation facilities a greater place. He has a proven record of success in community affairs and a track record of implementing successful programs for New York City and our nation’s State Department. He wants to utilize existing funding and the current tax structure to address the needs of the Park District. His priority will be to improve the safety and security at all Great Neck Parks and facilities for the community 24 hours a day. His promise is to work hard to continue the vibrant atmosphere of our parks system. Please visit his website: www.frankforcommissioner.com
Sharon Epstein (her statement)
My commitment to Great Neck is deep rooted, going back to my youth. I was raised in Great Neck during the mid 1970-80s and my childhood memories are filled with fond recollections of the beauty and variety of Great Neck’s parks. I actively participated in and took advantage of the outstanding park resources: skating, swimming, sailing, the playgrounds, walking trails and ball fields. I attended live concerts, and I deeply appreciated the variety of the cultural events, played amongst the stunning backdrop of the parks. These positive experiences significantly influenced my husband and me when we decided in 1999, as young parents, that Great Neck was where we wanted to live and raise our family.
My life pursuits have been influenced by my passion for the performing arts. I graduated with honors from Bard College with a Bachelor’s degree in theater arts. Soon after, I earned a Master’s degree in dance movement therapy from Hunter College. My education prepared me to work extensively with many different populations, using the arts to promote health and wellness. In 2006, I became a New York State licensed creative arts therapist, and established a business, Body Dynamics, Inc., where I develop and teach wellness programs for people of all ages, needs and abilities. Some of the populations I have served are: preschool-age children, senior citizens, developmentally disabled adults and adults living with conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
My mission is to inspire people to be conscious about living in harmony with their bodies, with each other and with our environment. I am an advocate for educating people about reducing the amount of stress and toxins they put into their bodies, and reducing waste and pollution in our environment.
I believe in using my experience and knowledge to help causes and projects that improve the quality of life for individuals and groups living together in a community. I have always taken a leadership role in my civic activities. When my children were young, I served as PTA president at the E.M. Baker Elementary School. Currently, I am president of the Great Neck North High School Junior Players (Drama) Booster Club, in which our son is involved. When our family was very young and we lived in lower Manhattan, I served as the president of the Battery Park City Parents Association.
My candidacy for Great Neck Park commissioner represents a convergence of my core values: improvement of community, appreciation and education of the arts, promotion of health and wellness activities, and protection and beautification of our natural environment. I believe both my personal and professional pursuits have given me a solid foundation to fulfill the responsibilities of this position.
Among my immediate aims if elected Great Neck Park District commissioner will be to create a survey to ensure we are meeting the interests and needs of our constituents. The most recent survey was done approximately ten years ago and it probably does not reflect the present demographics. I will look to improve and modernize the communication system that delivers information about park events and programming. I will absolutely maintain the highest standards of integrity and transparency in overseeing park operations, while remaining mindful of my fiduciary duty to be fiscally responsible to the tax payers of Great Neck. It will be my greatest honor and privilege to develop, maintain, and preserve the valuable resources of the Great Neck Park District. If elected, I will uphold a standard of excellence and respect for our parks that is steeped in history and pride. I pledge to be a guiding voice for creating meaningful and enjoyable park experiences that represent Great Neck’s rich cultural diversity and interests.