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GNVOA Installs New Officers

Susan Loptakin Takes the Lead

The Great Neck Village Officials Association swore in new officers and paid tribute to the late Saddle Rock Mayor J. Leonard Samansky at the GNVOA’s August meeting. Nassau County Legislator Judi Bosworth swore in Kensington Mayor Susan Lopatkin as president; Village of Great Neck Mayor Ralph Kreitzman again as vice president; and Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender as treasurer.

Mayor Lopatkin addressed her colleagues, stating that as the new head of the GNVOA her goal was for all of the villages “to work together in a more unified way.” She said that “we will be diminished if we don’t let our voice be heard.”

Just prior to the installation ceremony, Mayor Kreitzman, who has headed the GNVOA since the death of Mayor Samansky during the summer. offered a tribute to the late mayor and friend. Opening, Mayor Kreitzman said that with the death of Leonard Samansky, “Local government has lost a true champion of home rule … an articulate spokesman who never feared offending anyone in defense of local control.”

Discussing Mayor Samansky’s long public service career and many years as mayor of the Village of Saddle Rock, Mayor Kreitzman said that “Leonard Samansky’s passion for local government extended beyond his villager borders.” In 1996, while serving as president of the Nassau County Village Officials Association, Mayor Samansky led the battle in Albany that paved the way for Nassau County villages to have the right to petition the county to negotiate for a portion of the county sales tax revenue, a right the villages to this day enjoy.

Mayor Kreitzman added: “All I can add is that Leonard was a good friend who can never be replaced and will be sorely missed.”

Immediately following, PATV Executive Director Shirley Bruno invited the group to a “first showing” of a 9/11 video, video of local events during and following the terrorist attacks 10 years ago. Ms. Bruno and Mayor Samansky had worked together to create this beautiful tribute. The video includes a December 2001 gathering and ceremony on the Saddle Rock Bridge, now renamed to honor 9/11 and those lost on that day. The ceremony shows Leonard Samansky eloquently leading that tribute.

The GNVOA will continue its monthly meetings throughout the coming year, offering a wide array of speakers who will focus on information geared to local municipalities.