Voters will head to the polls in the villages of Great Neck Estates, Great Neck Plaza, Kensington, Russell Gardens, Saddle Rock and Thomaston on Tuesday, March 20, as two mayors are up for reelection, two trustees in each village will be selected and two village justices are on the ballot. All of the races are uncontested.
Poll times and locations for each village are listed below.
Candidates were invited to contribute biographical information, and the backgrounds of those who submitted information follow.
Great Neck Estates
The general election of the Village of Great Neck Estates will be held from noon to 9 p.m. at Great Neck Estates Village Hall, located at Atwater Plaza, 4 Gateway Dr.
Two trustees will be on the ballot for terms of two years each.
The candidates are incumbents Howard S. Hershenhorn and Lanny Oppenheim.
Great Neck Plaza
The Village of Great Neck Plaza election will be held from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Village Hall, located at 2 Gussack Plaza.
One mayor and two trustee positions are up for election; each are two-year terms.
Jean A. Celender is running for reelection for her 10th term as mayor, and Ted M. Rosen and Pamela A. Marksheid are seeking reelection as trustees.
Village of Kensington elections will be held from noon to 9 p.m. at Village Hall, located at 2 Nassau Dr.
The positions being filled are for one mayor for a two-year term; two trustees, each for a two-year term; and one village justice for a term of four years.
Susan Lopatkin, who has served as mayor for 10 years, is seeking reelection, Neil B. Garfinkel and incumbent Jeffrey Greener are running for trustee seats and incumbent Richard A. Dennett is running for village justice.
The Village of Russell Gardens election will be held from noon to 9 p.m. at Village Hall, located at 6 Tain Dr.
Two trustee positions, each for two-year terms, and one village justice, for a four-year term, will be selected.
Matthew Ellis and David Miller are running for reelection as trustees and Allen Cohen is running for reelection as village justice.
Village of Saddle Rock elections will be held from noon to 8 p.m. at Village Hall, located at 18 Masefield Way.
Two trustee positions are up for election, each for a two-year term.
Incumbent Kamran Barelli is seeking reelection for one trustee position and Ronen Ben-Josef is running for the other trustee seat.
The Village of Thomaston election will be held from noon to 9 p.m. at Village Hall, located at 100 East Shore Rd.
Two trustee seats, each for a two-year term, are on the ballot.
Incumbents To-on Pang and James E. Sharkey are running for the trustee positions.
Elections for the villages of Great Neck, Kings Point and Lake Success will be held on Tuesday, June 19.
Jean A. Celender For Great Neck Plaza Mayor
It has been an honor and a privilege for Jean Celender, who is running for her 10th term as mayor, to serve as mayor of the Village of Great Neck Plaza, and she looks forward to continuing her service to the residents of the plaza. She has lived in a cooperative apartment on Overlook Avenue in Great Neck Plaza for 39 years with her husband, Jeffrey Schwartz. The couple has a grown daughter, Erin.
Jean has served in village government in various positions, including trustee and deputy mayor, since her arrival in the plaza. She is the chairperson of the Vigilant Fire Company Liaison Committee, the village’s taxi commissioner and serves as a director on the Water Authority of Great Neck North, Great Neck Village Officials Association (treasurer), Executive Committee of the Nassau County Village Officials Association (second vice president), Great Neck Plaza Business Improvement District, Great Neck Chamber of Commerce, Gold Coast Arts Center and CLASP Children’s Center. She has 39 years of experience in planning and environ-mental consulting, community outreach services and transportation planning. She earned a Master of Arts in Geography with a specialization in urban planning and a Bachelor of Arts in Geography/Cartography.
She is proud of the many initiatives and programs instituted during her tenure to increase the plaza’s livability, walkability and to provide affordable (workforce) housing, as well as doing the plaza’s part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the effects of climate change on the environment, including adopting a Climate Action Plan and implementing programs such as the installation of a public electric vehicle charging station at Village Hall and the replacement of outdated, inefficient high-pressure sodium lighting in the two parking garages with efficient, maintenance-free LED fixtures, lowering the village’s carbon footprint in the process. As the first village in the U.S. to join the AARP Livable Communities Program, Great Neck Plaza is continuing initiatives to make it a more walkable, livable, socially connected and thriving community for residents of all ages and abilities.
Under her leadership, the Village Board adopted transit-oriented development in 2011 as a zoning change and revitalization initiative, following the Great National Recession in 2009, to permit mixed uses, mixed incomes, such as affordable apartments above first floor retail space, to attract and retain residents, especially young professionals and empty nesters, as an effective economic redevelopment initiative to bring vitality to the downtown—and she has worked tirelessly toward those goals.
In the upcoming term, Jean looks forward to continuing these successful strategies and will endeavor to find other ways to preserve the plaza’s hometown feel and sense of community, while striving to develop and implement ways to balance growth and maintain quality of life. She wants to build upon her record of accomplishments on transportation and pedestrian-safety improvements by completing the seventh traffic calming/infrastructure “green” improvement program obtained through state and federal grants to enhance the Shoreward Drive/Welwyn Road area. This safety and beautification project, which will commence in the spring, will include reconstructed roadways with pedestrian-safety improvements, providing additional parking, new brick sidewalks, benches and street furniture, a public plaza with beautiful pavers and new trees and tree pits, and ornamental LED street lighting to increase safety at night for the many pedestrians and bicyclists who utilize this area to access the Great Neck train station and environs.
The village also has plans to beautify the public alleyway—from the Gussack Plaza parking lot to Middle Neck Road—at 44 Middle Neck Rd., partnering with the plaza’s Business Improvement District and utilizing a downtown beautification grant obtained from the Town of North Hempstead.
In her current term, the Maple Drive parking lot was redeveloped with permeable pavers and other green infrastructure techniques, Maple Drive was repaved, the first year of roadway repaving of 11 local streets in the multi-year State of Good Repair Program was completed and the benches and “pocket” park next to Maple Drive Garage was upgraded through grants received from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation and Nassau County Consortium’s Community Development Block Grant.
Jean believes that the village is best served by a strong, effective mayor with a proven track record and a forward vision to improve the village that has become reality. She has been fiscally responsible by proposing budgets that maintain property taxes at zero or minimal increases for the past eight out of nine years, as well as staying under the state’s real property tax cap. She will continue to work hard to deliver services, enhancements to the village and programs at the same high-quality levels. On March 20, she would appreciate plaza residents’ vote of confidence in her and her running mates, Trustees Ted Rosen and Pam Marksheid, in returning them to office to continue their important work.
—As submitted by the candidate
Pamela A. Marksheid For Great Neck Plaza Trustee
Pamela Marksheid, who is seeking her fifth term as trustee, has served as a Village of Great Neck Plaza trustee since 2008. She has lived in a Great Neck co-op for more than 25 years with her son, Sam. She became a member of the Board of Directors of 50 Brompton Owners Cooperative soon after moving into her three-building cooperative, and has served on the board for nearly 20 years, the last 15 years as president. She participated on the Shared Decision Making Committee for three years at South Middle School and also served as the parent chairperson. At South High School, she was the executive vice president and a member of the PTA’s board for several years.
Pamela is retired from teaching in the New York City school system, where she was included in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers three times. After retirement, she taught computer education and science at the Silverstein Hebrew Academy. She was a union activist for the New York City Teacher’s Union (UFT) and served for 25 years as a chapter leader. During that time, she was also a delegate to the American Federation of Teachers and New York State Federation of Teachers.
Her service in local government came about through her active role in volunteering with the village and in other community-based organizations. Prior to her election as trustee, she served on the Zoning Board of Appeals for Great Neck Plaza. She has attended Town of North Hempstead meetings and has spoken out on issues that affect the plaza. She has also attended regular Great Neck Library meetings and, in her position as village trustee, helped champion the successful relocation of the Station Branch to an expanded location
on the second floor of The Gardens at Great Neck shopping center. She spearheaded the drive to have this branch remain in the plaza and, together with fellow village officials, acted as intermediaries to help work out a solution between the landlord and the library.
Pamela also serves as the trustee liaison to the Historic Preservation Commission and is a member of the Climate Smart Communities Committee, which is striving to receive certification by introducing initiatives to become more energy efficient. Pamela regularly attends the Nassau County Village Association’s monthly meetings, since it offers an understanding about what’s happening in other parts of the county and how it might affect Great Neck.
Although the board only formally meets two Wednesdays a month, she and her fellow elected officials often meet on countless occasions for the betterment of the plaza. She receives great pleasure from the improvement in the safety of residents through the plaza’s numerous traffic calming projects, the continued beautification with huge seasonal flower planters and art displays and seeing thousands experiencing wonderful restaurants during Restaurant Weeks. The board has created a sense of community and showcased the village’s merchants during the summer months with its Street Promenades and music in the park series.
Pamela approaches each issue with an open mind and has made decisions based on what will have a positive impact on the lives of the people who live in Great Neck Plaza. In this tough economic environment, she is proud of the board’s actions, working hard together and being fiscally prudent. In this year’s budget, the board has not had to go above the New York State tax cap and has kept the plaza’s property taxes at an almost zero increase during her tenure. This is certainly not typical of most municipalities.
She greatly enjoys her work as a trustee, representing the people of Great Neck Plaza. It is not only an honor, but also a privilege. She hopes to continue serving the residents.
—As submitted by the candidate
Ted M. Rosen For Great Neck Plaza Trustee
A Great Neck Plaza resident since 1974, Ted Rosen lives in the Wyngate section of Great Neck Plaza with his wife, Nancy. The couple has two grown children, Melissa and Seth, and three grandchildren, Phoenix, Tristan and Freyja.
A graduate of Queens College and New York University School of Law, Ted has been practicing law since 1973, primarily in commercial litigation in state and federal courts. He has substantial experience with the legal issues involved in the management of condominiums and cooperatives and has substantial experience as arbitrator for a number of different organizations and institutions. He has also served as a mediator, an administrative law judge and a hearing officer. Since 2006, he has been a full-time faculty member at Queensborough Community College. He is an associate professor, teaching business law and business organization and management. Previously, he coached the college’s mock trial team, which he started. Ted is a member and the secretary of the college’s Faculty Executive Committee and a member of the college’s Academic Freedom Committee.
As a trustee and deputy mayor, he is the village’s cable commissioner, a member of the Great Neck/North Shore Cable Commission and a member and the secretary of the PATV Board of Directors. He supervises the Village’s Code Enforcement Unit, the Building Department, the Housing Department and helps supervise the Village’s Department of Public Works. Ted has also chaired, cochaired or served as a liaison to various village committees. He worked to bring Holocaust memorial programs, poetry readings and safety seminars to the village.
For 20 years, he was a member of the Nassau County Auxiliary Police, serving as a deputy inspector and chief of the Great Neck Central Auxiliary Police. Active in the Great Neck unit of the Police Activity League (PAL), he has served as a coach, grade coordinator, league commissioner, board member and trustee. He was one of several people responsible for the construction of the PAL building at Memorial Field. Previously, he served as a member of the Board of Directors of COPAY.
Ted has been integrally involved in all aspects of village government and knows how village government works. He knows that success in all levels of government, particularly at the local level, is achieved through hard work and reaching a consensus. He works constructively with his colleagues on the board, to build consensus, even when they may initially disagree, to obtain results that are in the best interests of the village and the public they serve.
The plaza faces various challenging issues. First, is maintaining the high level of municipal services the village provides in the most cost-effective and fiscally responsible manner. He will continue to carefully examine every dollar the village spends and continue to support efforts to obtain grant monies for projects. Second, is maintaining a vibrant and active downtown by attracting new businesses and by finding new ways to promote and market the plaza. Third, is continuing to work to improve traffic and pedestrian safety through site-specific professional engineering projects and continuing to support efforts to obtain grant monies to pay most of the expenses of these projects.
It has been his privilege and honor to serve the residents of Great Neck Plaza and to help make Great Neck Plaza an excellent place to live, work and shop. Ted hopes that with the support of plaza residents, he will have the opportunity to continue to do so.
—As submitted by the candidate
Susan Lopatkin For Kensington Mayor
Susan Lopatkin, who is running for her sixth term as mayor, has been a resident of the Village of Kensington since 1994 and has served as mayor since 2008. Before serving as mayor, she was the chairperson of the Zoning Board, deputy mayor, pool commissioner and executive board member of the Kensington Civic Organization. Currently, she also serves as vice president of the Great Neck Village Officials Association, having served previously as its president, and is on the Board of Directors of the Water Authority of Great Neck North.
Susan’s tenure as mayor is marked by her strong belief in fiscal conservativism, coupled with her commitment to maintaining the beauty and uniqueness of the village. Highlights of her achievements include a village centennial celebration, replacing all village street and entrance signs with a uniform design, restoration of the iconic “Kensington gates,” including lighting and landscaping, repaving all roads, upgrading the pool facility and overhauling the zoning code and building department policies.
She is a strong supporter of the village police department and recently initiated a full renovation of police headquarters for the first time in more than 50 years. Most noteworthy, she has accomplished all of this while remaining within the New York State mandated 2 percent tax cap each year. Susan believes that there is still more work to be done, including continuing the restoration and upgrades to the many village islands, as well as the village green.
Given the large amount of construction and renovation in the village, Susan is planning to review the current zoning and building department procedures to enhance the experience of the applicants and create a more streamlined approach for simpler applications. Her goal is to continue the high level of quality construction in the village.
Susan has enjoyed these last 10 years, working with a very committed board of trustees including current Deputy Mayor Darren Kaplan, prior Deputy Mayor Philip Bornstein (who is stepping down from the board this year) and trustees Alina Hendler and Jeffrey Greener. It takes a village to raise a child—and a dedicated board of trustees to run a village.
Professionally, Susan is the principal of her own firm, Comprehensive Financial Strategies, providing retirement and estate planning services. She holds insurance and securities licenses and is a Certified Financial Planner and Certified Public Accountant. She is grateful for the support of her husband, Bob, and her two wonderful daughters, Stefanie and Allison.
—As submitted by the candidate
Neil Garfinkel For Kensington Trustee
Neil Garfinkel has lived in Great Neck since 1989 and in the Village of Kensington since 1998.
After serving on the Kensington Zoning Board of Appeals for the past five years, Neil decided that he would like to become more involved with the village, saying, “I am impressed by the accomplishments of the mayor and the trustees, and the many things they do to ensure that our village remains a wonderful place to live. As a longtime resident, I feel that I should do my share to assist in maintaining our village.”
Neil is a real estate and banking lawyer and is the managing partner of Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson, LLP, a full-service law firm that has offices in Long Island, Manhattan and California. He believes that his real estate experience and the skills that he has learned by managing a medium-size law firm will translate well in his role as a village trustee.
Neil and his wife, Shari, have two adult children, Alyssa and Joshua, who both graduated from Great Neck South High School. The couple belongs to Temple Israel and Fresh Meadow Golf Club. Neil is a former president of the Little Neck Jewish Center and Shari is a former president of the Kochavim Group of Hadassah.
—As submitted by the candidate
Jeffrey Greener For Kensington Trustee
Jeffrey Greener, who is running for his fourth term as village trustee, has been a Kensington Village resident for 16 years and a Great Neck resident for more than 25 years.
Jeff is chairman of the Trusts & Estates Practice Group at Rivkin Radler LLP, headquartered in Uniondale, and serves on the firm’s executive committee. He is past national chairman and board member of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.
He considers it an honor to continue representing the residents of the village under the fiscally prudent guidance of Mayor Lopatkin and the dedicated trustees and staff of the village.
—As submitted by the candidate
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