Race For The Great Neck Library Board Of Trustees

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The Great Neck Library candidates (from left): William C. Gens, Chelsea Sassouni, Robert M. Schaufeld, Liman “Mimi” Hu, David Zielenziger, Josie Pizer and Scott SontagPhotos by Caleb Hao

The Great Neck Library Board of Trustees held a forum at the Main Library on Thursday, Oct. 4, when candidates competing in the 2018–19 election introduced themselves.

Candidates in attendance running for the four Board of Trustees seats were the Nominating Committee Endorsed Candidate Liman “Mimi” Hu, who is running for the four-year term for the seat currently held by Robert Schaufeld; Nominating Committee Endorsed Candidate David Zielenziger and Independent Candidate Chelsea Sassouni competing for the four-year term for the seat currently held by Joel Marcus; Nominating Committee Endorsed Candidate Josie Pizer for the remaining two-year term for Douglas Hwee’s seat; and Nominating Committee Endorsed Candidate Scott J. Sontag and Independent Candidate Robert M. Schaufeld for the remaining one-year term for Francine Ferrante Krupski’s seat.

William Gens delivers his opening statement.

Three seats will be expiring in January 2019 on the Nominating Committee. Nominating Committee Endorsed Candidate William C. Gens, for the three-year Nominating Committee term for the seat currently held by Donald Panetta, was also in attendance.

When asked about their plan of action regarding the potential termination of a program, the candidates’ responses were very diverse.

“We [should] first take a look at the cost of the program in correspondence to attendance, [taking into account the] highest return based on attendance yield,” said Sassouni.

“The community’s opinion [should] be heard and [we should] make a decision together to encompass all of our views,” said Hu.

Josie Pizer answers a question.

Schaufeld proposed, “Creating joint programs with other libraries, as to not eliminate but combine programs that are less popular.”

Candidates also expressed different views when asked what the purpose of the library was.

“It serves as a cultural center of the community,” said Schaufeld.

Sontag said the library is “a building for intellectual resources.”

Sassouni described the library as “a place of gathering and learning.”

Chelsea Sassouni responds to a question.

When questioned regarding their vision for the future of the library system, Zielenziger responded that the “library foundation ensures future resources for future generations” and Sontag aspires to “making Great Neck libraries the greatest there are on the isla

In the end, the candidates seemed to agree upon a few key points, as Zielenziger emphasized improving the “excellent resource of the library system” and Gens advocated for the continuous development of the “intellectual hub that unifies our community.”

The vote will be held on Oct. 29.

See below for election details and more about the candidates.


Get To Know The Library Board Candidates

By Sheri ArbitalJacoby

Four-year Term for the Seat Currently Held by Robert Schaufeld

Liman “Mimi” Hu

Liman “Mimi” Hu

Nominating Committee Endorsed Candidate Liman “Mimi” Hu has been living in Great Neck for five years. She received a BA in Economics and Physics from Wesleyan University and is a third-year student at New York University Law.

“Our public library is not only a resource hub and learning center, but also a cultural hotbed which promotes arts, literature and diversity,” said Hu. “In this digital age, I find a public library’s physical space crucial for residents in a community to develop meaningful bonds with each other. It is my top priority that our library maintains and continues to develop outstanding events and programs that suit our community’s needs.”

Four-year Term for the Seat Currently Held by Joel Marcus

David Zielenziger

David Zielenziger

Nominating Committee Endorsed Candidate David Zielenziger, who has been living in Great Neck for 36 years, received a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs at Princeton University and is a journalist and editor.

“Words have been my life since I was a child and loved Freeport Memorial Library,” said Zielenziger. “Journalism and books have been my life. I believe I can be entrusted to conserve the educational and intellectual role of our magnificent library system. We need to restore comity to the board, end merry-go-round directors, protect facts and truth, reach out to newcomers and encourage lifelong reading in the Great Neck/New Hyde Park community.

Chelsea Sassouni

Chelsea Sassouni

Independent Candidate Chelsea Sassouni has called Great Neck home for 22 years. She received a BA in Public Policy Studies from Duke University and an MBA from Johnson Cornell Tech. She currently serves on the Great Neck Library Board of Trustees.

“The Great Neck Library system has offered me countless opportunities to learn, connect and grow—most recently as an appointed trustee,” said Sassouni. “I believe that the faster technology evolves, the more vital the library’s function is as the epicenter for interaction and enrichment. Despite e-books and search engines, our libraries are relevant as ever: They are the physical anchors of our communities. In continuing my role as a trustee, I hope to help translate a library’s purpose—to nurture every individual’s capacity for learning—into the 21st century.”

Remaining Two-year Term for Doug Hwee’s Seat

Josie Pizer

Josie Pizer

Nominating Committee Endorsed Candidate Josie Pizer has lived in Great Neck for 65 years. She received a master’s in Administration and Supervision and a post-master’s professional diploma in Organizational Development/Leadership Training. The education consultant is currently on the library Board of Trustees.

“I am asking for your support to continue to give back to the Great Neck Library that aided my academic and career successes,” said Pizer. “I am committed to working cooperatively and energetically with my neighbors and fellow trustees to present our entire community with a library that is forward-thinking, diverse and committed to the growth of our system. I provide stability, continuity, expertise as well as experience.”

Remaining One-year Term for Francine Ferrante Krupski’s Seat

Scott J. Sontag

Scott J. Sontag

Nominating Committee Endorsed Candidate Scott J. Sontag, who has lived in Great Neck for seven years, received a BS in Electrical Engineering from SUNY Binghamton and an MS in Computer Science from New York University Polytechnic Tandon School of Engineering. He is a software engineer project manager and senior engineer at Morgan Stanley.

“Libraries provide a critical building block in the foundation of education and socialization,” said Sontag. “Libraries are centers for development, providing an open place to research, read, socialize and learn. The facilities provide universal access points to books, classes, and clubs. It’s important for us at a young age to understand that a library is more than books. The biggest change coming to libraries is the adoption of technology, and libraries need to adopt this carefully as it will bring, among other things, remote access to materials. I see remote access as a critical element balanced against the need to get people to the library. We are lucky to have access to such great facilities in Great Neck.”

Robert M. Schaufeld

Robert M. Schaufeld

Independent Candidate Robert M. Schaufeld has lived in Great Neck for 27 years. He received a BA in History from Brandeis University and a JD from Hofstra University Law School. He is a residential and commercial real estate attorney, general counsel and a business advisor, who is currently president of the Great Neck Library Board of Trustees.

“I have been on the Great Neck Library Board of Trustees for the past four years and have served as president for the last two,” said Schaufeld. “During my tenure, we have seen the installation of RFID self check-out, state-of-the-art audio and video installations in the community room, art shows in the new gallery, 3D printing, and high-tech lighting and audio in Levels. Our varied lectures, programs and courses have always been an important and dynamic resource on Long Island. A library is an essential resource for everyone. Its integrity and the services it provides must be protected and supported by and for our residents. I will continue to serve the community and assist the library with its new branch renovation projects, enhancing services, communications and fundraising.”


How To Vote In The Library Election

The annual election for library Board of Trustees and Nominating Committee members will be held on Monday, Oct. 29, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Main Library and Parkville Branch.

Eligible voters must be 18 or older, a resident of the Great Neck School District and either a valid Great Neck Library card holder by Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, at 5 p.m., or a registered voter with the Nassau County Board of Elections. For general election questions, call 516-466-8055, ext. 201.

Four seats on the library Board of Trustees and three seats on the Nominating Committee will be expiring in January 2019.

• For the four-year trustee term running January 2019–23 for the seat currently held by Robert Schaufeld, the Nominating Committee Endorsed Candidate is Liman “Mimi” Hu;

• For the four-year trustee term from January 2019–23 for the seat currently held by Joel Marcus, the Nominating Committee Endorsed Candidate is David Zielenziger and the Independent Candidate is Chelsea Sassouni, a current library trustee;

• For the remaining two-year trustee term running from January 2019–21 for Douglas Hwee’s seat, the Nominating Committee Endorsed Candidate is Josie Pizer;

• For the remaining one-year trustee term from January 2019–20 for Francine Ferrante Krupski’s seat, the Nominating Committee Endorsed Candidate is Scott J. Sontag and the Independent Candidate is Robert M. Schaufeld, current library board president;

• For the three-year Nominating Committee term from January 2019–22 for the seat currently held by Howard Esterces, the Nominating Committee Endorsed Candidate is Francine Ferrante Krupski;

• For the three-year Nominating Committee term running from January 2019–22 for the seat currently held by Donald Panetta, the Nominating Committee Endorsed Candidate is William C. Gens; and

• For the remaining two-year Nominating Committee term from January 2019–21 for Samuel Gottlieb’s seat, the Nominating Committee Endorsed Candidate is Siu Long “Alex” Au.

Residents living North of Northern Boulevard vote in the Main Library community room at 159 Bayview Ave. Residents living South of Northern Boulevard vote at the Parkville Branch, 10 Campbell St., off Lakeville Road, in New Hyde Park.

Voters may also cast their vote by proxy. A Proxy Request Form can be found in the October/November/December library newsletter, at www.greatnecklibrary.org or at any of the four Great Neck Library locations. Note: Friday, Oct. 19, is the last day to mail proxy ballots. Completed ballots must be received at the Main Post Office on Welwyn Road or deposited in a locked box at any Great Neck Library location by Friday, Oct. 26, before 5 p.m.

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