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Village Board Thanks Longtime Public Servant

From Board of Trustees Information Committee

In light of longtime Village Administrator Robert L. Schoelle’s retirement at the Sept. 19 board of trustees meeting, the board of trustees information committee would like to express its congratulations and thanks for his time and efforts. In his current position since 1980, he will have served under 18 Mayors following his retirement next year.  

Bob earned both a BA and Masters Degree in public administration from the University of Rhode Island and served in the Army National Guard. In 1968, he began his career in public administration and served Garden City as deputy village clerk and treasurer from 1968 to 1976 when he accepted the position of village administrator and treasurer in Rockville Centre. In 1980, he was recruited back to Garden City as village administrator and treasurer and has remained in that position ever since.

During his 33-year tenure, Bob oversaw and coordinated many difficult tasks and projects which have greatly benefited the quality of life in Garden City. On the long list, some of the most significant projects include the completion of the Garden City Hotel and the Windham Condominiums, the purchase of the St. Paul’s campus and improvement of the playing fields; the Franklin Avenue, 7th Street and New Hyde Park Road business district beautification projects; establishment of the Annual Belmont Festival; completion of new paddle tennis courts and building of the Community Park Clubhouse; the renovation of village hall; the designation of Stewart and Franklin Avenues as the Garden City Village Green; and most recently, the improvements to the Garden City Pool which is one of our village’s prize amenities.

Bob participated in the completion of the village master plan update and worked diligently with the business planning coalition. The former project laid out a blueprint for the village’s future and the latter was instrumental in revitalizing our business district. During Bob’s tenure, the village has carefully managed its finances and our Moody’s bond rating was raised to “AAA,” the highest possible rating for municipal debt.   

When Garden City was hit by Hurricane Sandy, Bob and his staff immediately moved into action by immediately retaining first rate tree removal contractors. He worked closely with our public works, police and fire departments, making every effort to clear streets as quickly as possible so that moving around the could be safe. The job of cleaning up the debris from over 700 downed village trees was monumental, and Bob worked tirelessly to coordinate the operation so that the work could be completed swiftly. Under his leadership, Bob and the village staff did yeoman’s work on this project and we have received many compliments, not only from residents and business owners about the quality and speed of the cleanup, but from other municipalities as well.

Bob and his wife, Monica, are longtime residents of the Eastern Section, and their three children and four grandchildren all reside in Garden City. In addition to his Garden City duties, Bob is the president of the Garden City/Mineola Rotary Club, and was a director of the Garden City High School Men’s Association.  

On behalf of Mayor Watras and the board of trustees, our residents and business owners, we thank him for his tireless leadership that has served our village well over more than three decades. He will be missed by all. The Board of Trustees will be undertaking a search for Mr. Schoelle’s replacement. Bob will be staying in his position until a replacement is hired.