About two-and-a-half hours after votes are typically tallied for a Great Neck Park District election, the results are finally in. Challenger Tina Stellato is the new Park District commissioner, winning with 700 votes. Incumbent Commissioner Dan Nachmanoff received 490.
An unusually high number of absentee ballots had to be counted. This year, 530 absentee ballot applications were received and 417 accepted applications for absentee ballots were sent out, according to Dorina Bradley, secretary to the board.
Stellato has worked for the Park District for more than 17 years, where she has served as both a tennis professional and scheduler at Parkwood Tennis.
As a top-ranked junior, Stellato was awarded a full tennis scholarship to St. John’s University and worked part time at Parkwood Tennis during college, returning to the Park District after graduating. She has been a member of Parkwood’s A-1 and Super A women’s tennis teams, where she has helped both teams secure league victories numerous times. Over the years, she has taught tennis to hundreds of students.
She and her husband, Rob Villegas, the Parkwood Tennis director, are raising their children, Michael, 6, and Gabrielle, 5, in Thomaston, and both children are students at E.M. Baker.
As commissioner, Stellato looks forward to live streaming board meetings in an effort to get more of the community involved in Park District business. She plans to develop more programs for children with special needs, create more educational programs, introduce new sports to the Park District curriculum and revitalize the parks on the southern end of Great Neck. Stellato is eager to explore sites for a new recreation center and find solutions to the shortage of commuter parking.
Prior to serving as Great Neck Park District commissioner for six years, Nachmanoff was mayor of Russell Gardens for six years, president of the Great Neck Village Officials Association for two years, on the executive board of the Nassau County Village Officials Association for three years and director of Inter-Governmental relations for then-County Executive Tom Suozzi.
He and his wife, Gloria, have lived in Russell Gardens for more than 40 years, where they raised three children who graduated from Great Neck South High School.
A graduate of Bronx High School of Science, Nachmanoff received BA and DDS degrees from New York University and owned a dental practice in Queens for more than 40 years.
“I put in six years as commissioner and it’s a different time and a different era,” said Nachmanoff. “I congratulate my opponent.”
Reflecting on his time as Park District commissioner, Nachmanoff said, “I didn’t expect to be a park commissioner. I was a member of the Nassau County Village Officials Association and someone suggested it to me. I went to meetings for six months and saw some things I could do. I ran against three other candidates in 2011 and was fortunate to win.”
As far as future plans, Nachmanoff said, “ I look forward to spending more time with my wife, which I haven’t done in six months or more. The Park District is a very demanding job. I can go to the gym every morning and not worry that I have to be back in the office. My wife and I will be able to spend more time together and look at our future. I have no plans, but we will start paring down the things in our house and try to reduce some of the clutter and then make some real decisions. I’m still here until the end of the month.”
Stellato said that she looks forward to working hard for the community that means so much to her.