The annual Village of Great Neck Plaza election will be held on Tuesday, March 15, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Village Hall, Gussack Plaza in Great Neck.
The positions up for election are for mayor and two trustees, each for a two-year term. All of the candidates are running uncontested. Jean A. Celender is running for mayor and the two trustees are Pamela A. Marksheid and Ted M. Rosen. The candidates have each submitted a synopsis detailing their experience.
Jean A. Celender For Mayor
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as mayor of the Village of Great Neck Plaza, and I look forward to continuing my service to the residents of the plaza. I have lived in a co-op on Overlook Avenue in Great Neck Plaza for 37 years with my husband, Jeffrey Schwartz. We have a grown daughter, Erin.
I have served in village government in various positions since my arrival in Great Neck Plaza, including trustee and deputy mayor. I am the chairperson of the Vigilant Fire Co. Liaison Committee, the Village’s Taxi commissioner and serve 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, Great Neck Plaza Business Improvement District, Great Neck Chamber of Commerce and the Gold Coast Arts Center. I have 37 years’ experience in planning and environmental consulting, performing environmental studies, community outreach services and transportation planning. I have a master of arts in geography with a specialization in urban planning and a bachelor of arts in geography/cartography.
I am proud of the many initiatives and programs instituted during my tenure to increase the plaza’s livability, provide affordable (workforce) housing and doing our part locally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the effects of climate change on our environment as outlined in a recently adopted Great Neck Plaza Climate Action Plan. The village board adopted transit-oriented development as a zoning change to permit mixed uses, such as affordable apartments above first floor retail space, to attract and retain residents, especially young professionals, as an effective economic redevelopment initiative to bring vitality to downtown.
In this upcoming term, I will continue to look for strategies 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. I want to build upon my record of accomplishment on a comprehensive program of transportation safety and pedestrian improvements by completing our sixth traffic calming project obtained in a Transportation Enhancement Program state grant for enhancements to the Shoreward Drive/Welwyn Road area. This project will include reconstructed roadways with pedestrian safety improvements, additional parking, new brick sidewalks, benches and street furniture, a public plaza and ornamental LED street lighting to increase safety at night for the many pedestrians and bicyclists that utilize this area to access the Great Neck train station. We are also redeveloping the Maple Drive parking lot with green infrastructure techniques, repaving Maple Drive and upgrading the benches and pocket park next to Maple Drive Garage through a Green Innovation Grant Program grant from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation and a Nassau County Community Development Block Grant.
I believe the village is best served by a strong, effective mayor with a proven track record. I have been fiscally responsible by proposing budgets that maintain property taxes at zero or minimal increases for the past eight years, and also staying under the state’s real property tax cap. I will continue to work hard to deliver services and programs at the same high-quality levels. On March 15, I would appreciate plaza residents’ vote of confidence in me and my running mates, Trustees Ted Rosen and Pam Marksheid, in returning us to office to continue this work.
—As submitted by the candidate
Pamela A. Marksheid For Trustee
I am seeking my fourth two-year term as trustee in the Village of Great Neck Plaza. I have lived in a Great Neck co-op for more than 22 years with my son, Sam. I became a member of the board of directors of 50 Brompton Owners Cooperative soon after moving into my three-building cooperative and have served on the board for more than 15 years, the past 12 years as president. I 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, I was the executive vice president and a member of the PTA’s board for several years.
I am retired from teaching in the New York City School System, where I was honored to be included three times in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. After retirement, I taught computer education and science at the Silverstein Hebrew Academy. I 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, I was also a delegate to the American Federation of Teachers and New York State Federation of Teachers.
My service in local government came about through my active role in volunteering with the village and in other community-based organizations. Prior to my election as trustee, I served on the Zoning Board of Appeals for Great Neck Plaza. I have attended meetings of the Town of North Hempstead and have spoken out on issues that affect the plaza. Similarly, I attended regular meetings of the Great Neck Library and, in my position as village trustee, helped champion the successful relocation of the Station Branch to an expanded location on the second floor at The Gardens at Great Neck shopping center. The library was going to leave the plaza and relocate in another village. I spearheaded the drive to have this branch remain in the plaza, because this issue was extremely important for the senior citizens and other residents who rely on that branch. Together with my fellow village officials, we acted as intermediaries to help work out a solution between the landlord and the library. I also serve as the trustee liaison to the Historic Preservation Commission as well as being active in the Great Neck Village Officials Association. I also regularly attend the monthly meetings of the Nassau County Village Association, since these meetings give village officials an understanding about what is happening in other parts of the county and how it might affect Great Neck.
Although the board only formally meets two Wednesdays a month, there are often countless days when my fellow elected officials and I need to meet for the betterment of the plaza. Some of the areas that give me great pleasure are the improvement of the safety of our residents with our numerous traffic calming projects; the continued beautification of the plaza with our huge seasonal flower planters and art displays; and seeing thousands of residents and nonresidents experiencing our wonderful restaurants during our very successful Restaurant Weeks (which economically benefit the restaurants and other businesses). The board has created a sense of community and showcased the village’s merchants during the summer months with its weekly Street Promenades and Music in the Park summer series. I approach each issue with an open mind and have 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, I am proud of the board’s actions working hard together and being fiscally prudent. We have never had to go over the New York State tax cap and have kept the plaza’s property taxes at an almost zero increase over the last seven years. This is certainly not typical of most municipalities in the Great Neck peninsula or on Long Island.
I greatly enjoy my work as a trustee and representing the people of Great Neck Plaza. It is not only an honor, but also a privilege. I hope I will continue to serve the residents by being reelected on March 15.
—As submitted by the candidate
Ted M. Rosen For Trustee
A Great Neck Plaza resident since 1974, I live in the Wyngate section of Great Neck Plaza with my wife, Nancy. Nancy and I have two grown children, Melissa and Seth.
A graduate of Queens College and NYU School of Law, I have been practicing law since 1973, primarily in commercial litigation in state and federal courts. I have substantial experience with the legal issues involved in the management of condominiums and cooperatives, and as arbitrator for a number of different organizations and institutions. I have also served as a mediator, an administrative law judge and a hearing officer. Since 2006, I have been a full-time faculty member at Queensborough Community College, where I am an associate professor, teaching business law and business organization and management, as well as coaching the college’s mock trial team, which I started.
As a trustee and deputy mayor, I am the village’s cable commissioner, a member of the Great Neck/North Shore Cable Commission and a member of the PATV board of directors. I supervise the village’s Code Enforcement Unit, the Building Department and the Housing Department. I have chaired, cochaired or served as a liaison to various village committees. I worked to bring Holocaust memorial programs, poetry readings and safety seminars to the village.
For 20 years, I 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), I served as a coach, grade coordinator, league commissioner, board member and trustee of the Great Neck unit. I was one of several people responsible for the construction of the PAL building at Memorial Field. I also previously served as a member of the board of directors of COPAY.
I have been integrally involved in all aspects of village government and I know how village government works. I know that success in all levels of government, particularly at the local level, is achieved through hard work and reaching a consensus. I work constructively with my colleagues on the board to build consensus, even when we disagree, and to obtain results that are in the best interests of the village and the public we serve.
The plaza faces various challenging issues today. First is the challenge of maintaining the high level of municipal services the village provides in the most cost-effective manner. I will continue to carefully examine every dollar the village spends and continue to support efforts to obtain grant monies for projects. Second is the challenge of attracting new businesses into our downtown by finding new ways to promote and market the plaza. Third is to continue to work to improve traffic and pedestrian safety through site-specific professional engineering projects and to continue to support efforts to obtain grant monies to pay most of the expenses of such projects.
—As submitted by the candidate