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Old Village Elections Uncontested

(Editor’s Note: As each village announces its candidates for office, in uncontested as well as contested elections, the Great Neck Record offers the opportunity for each candidate to submit a short bio, including qualifications as well as a headshot. These are the statements from the candidates in the Village of Great Neck.)

The position of mayor, two trustee spots and the position of village justice are all up for election in the Village of Great Neck. Each candidate is unopposed. Up for re-election are Mayor Ralph Kreitzman and trustees Jeffrey Bass and Mitchell Beckerman. Mark Birnbaum is running for his first term as village justice.

Ralph Kreitzman (For Mayor)
Being the mayor of the Village of Great Neck is not an easy job, but it has been the most rewarding one I have had the privilege to have. I believe I am qualified to continue to do that job, full time, and I want to do it for the benefit of all of our residents.
The trustees and I have embarked on a number of very important projects and I would like to help guide them to fruition.  We are nearing the end of the long process of repaving all of our 24-plus miles of roads. We have consulted with experts and conducted a public visioning of where the business district of our village should go and have started the process of rezoning the former business area of Steamboat Road and all of Middle Neck Road. We also will adopt new sign, awning and façade guidelines for businesses. We are about to combine our sewer operations with the Great Neck Water Pollution Control District’s new plant and decommission our plant. It is estimated that our residents served by our plant will save over $850,000 a year ($329 a year for the average home) and that those now in the district will also see a savings. We then plan to sell our department of public works property on Middle Neck Road for housing and, we expect for no additional cost, to build a new, green and more productive one on the site of our sewer plant. After having quarterly meetings or conversations with the owner of the rusting fuel oil tanks and property on East Shore Road, AvalonBay plans to clean up the site at no cost to the Village, improve the bulkhead and shore and build an apartment complex. Of course, the trustees and I will have significant input and be sure it not only harmonizes with the village but causes little or no negative impact.  We have revalued all of the properties in the Village so that each bears its fair share of our real estate taxes which, as required by state law, is the primary way we are required to fund the many important services we offer.  That is a formidable list and there is more. 

Also, your trustees and I have been able to guide the village through our worst economic times in decades, and ever increasing state unfunded mandates, with an AAA (highest) bond rating and with very moderate tax increases, about two percent on average over the past five years.  Unfortunately, space does not afford me the ability to note many of our other achievements. 

In addition to my experience as a real estate and commercial lawyer with a major international law firm, I have benefited by being the president of the Nassau County Village Officials Association for two, one-year terms, a member of the Executive Committee of the New York State Conference of Mayors, the vice president (soon to be president) of the Great Neck Village Officials Association and a director and chair of the audit committee of the Water Authority of Great Neck North. 

Jeffrey Bass (For Trustee)
Once again, I am proud to be a candidate for re-election to the Great Neck Village Board of Trustees. During my tenure as trustee, I have and continue to serve as trustee liaison to the village’s Board of Zoning Appeals, representative to the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee and trustee coordinator of the village’s compliance with the state mandated “Municipal Separate Storm Water Sewer System” (MS4) reporting responsibilities. As village trustee I am also a member of the Great Neck Village Officials Association and the Nassau County Village Officials Association where I chair the Association’s MS4 Committee. My prior village experience includes membership on the Board of Zoning Appeals (five years) and Planning Board (two years).

I am running for re-election because I want to continue on as a member of the team that works so hard and in such a caring fashion to protect the safety of our residents, while maintaining the quality of life we have come to enjoy. Just witness the number of streets that have been repaved in an annual and methodical fashion. Look at all of the trees that have been planted. All of this and much more while enjoying  AAA Bond ratings! I am proud to be working with my colleagues on the Board in caring for today and planning for our future. 

I have deep business and government experience. I am published and frequently serve as a source for local and national business publications. I hold two graduate degrees in Urban Planning and Public Administration from Queens College and New York University respectively. I am married and we have two children and two grandchildren.

As trustee, I take the stewardship of our village very seriously. I wish to continue and ask for the honor of your vote.

Mitchell Beckerman (For Trustee)
Many people still ask me why I want to run again for the board of trustees given the time it takes away from your family and business.  My answer is still that I feel that a lot has been accomplished during my almost 12 years on the board, but there are many challenges that we, as a village are facing, that my experience will help resolve.

Having over 39 years experience in business, a BS in Accounting, an MBA and a CPA Certification, I bring a great deal of financial management expertise to the village.  Working with many elected officials from the federal level to the local level, I have been able to forge many close working relationships that have been beneficial to our village. I am active in other community organizations in various positions such as: commissioner and treasurer, Great Neck Senior Housing Authority; board member, Great Neck Chamber of Commerce; chairman of the Crafts Fair Committee; executive board member and treasurer, Lake Success Jewish Center. These different experiences help me to enhance and improve our quality of life.

I have brought fiscal awareness to our village by utilizing conservative budgetary practices, which has provided our village with a fiscally responsible budget for the last 12 years. I helped create our five-year plan for improvements and replacement of our infrastructure. I have attended many state run seminars to enhance my knowledge of many local government issues that affect us. I established audit controls for the review of all village voucher abstracts.  I review all invoices and vouchers to ascertain that we have received the goods and services billed for and approve them before they can be paid. Additionally, I have renegotiated contracts for the village that have saved us money.  This effort needs to be continued.

I created and chaired the village’s business and commerce committee which was the predecessor to the downtown revitalization project that we are still continuing. Some of the ideas that we implemented are the Middle Neck Road welcoming banners, the replanting of the center islands on Middle Neck Road, the brick sidewalks which continue to become a reality. All of these improvements and the additional ones that need to be done will continue to make our business district more inviting. We continue to partner with property owners and business owners alike to upgrade the stores and our streetscape.  Given today’s economic environment, we have only scratched the surface of what needs to be done.

Resolving resident issues is probably the most rewarding part of the job. The one-on-one contact with our residents and problem solving is most satisfying for me.

It has been my honor representing you for the last twelve years and, with your help, I look forward to two more.  

Mark Birnbaum (For Village Justice)
After over 22 years as a Great Neck Village official I believe I am well qualified to be village justice. Over 22 years ago I started my involvement with the village when I was appointed a commissioner of the Great Neck Senior Housing Authority, which is responsible for all aspects of managing the residential building located on the corner of Middle Neck Road and Arrandale Avenue. In this role I interacted with local and federal officials, advocating for the needs of the residents while considering the constraints of funding sources. During this time I was appointed to the Board of Zoning and Appeals and served in both of these roles until the Board of Trustees found a qualified successor as commissioner. The BZA is responsible for hearing, deliberating and deciding on appeals from property owners to denials of requests from the building department. These denials can be because the request was to build or maintain something that was or would be in violation of the building code, or that the code required the consent of the BZA for a special use as spelled out in the law. After some years I was appointed chairman of the BZA. During this time, and on many applications we heard testimony from applicants, experts, and the community, for and against requests, and we weighed the credibility of the testimony and submitted documents and rendered decisions, similar to a judicial body. 

After serving as chairman for many years, 11 years ago  I was asked to run for village trustee. First elected in 2002, I ran a contested election in 2004 and 2006, and then was re-elected again in 2008, 2010 and 2012. In 2003 I was appointed to be Nassau County Police Department liaison and public safety commissioner. In 2004 I was appointed Great Neck police commissioner, serving in these roles through today. I interact with the Nassau County Police Department, which serves our village for all police purposes. During the many meetings with the precinct commanders and police commissioner I advocate for and explain the specific police needs of our village and communicate almost daily with special police units and supervising officers.

Professionally I am a practicing attorney, with my offices located in Great Neck. I have served as an arbitrator with the Nassau County District Court for 34 years, a receiver and referee on civil matters appointed by the Nassau County Supreme Court, and a guardian ad litem appointed by the Nassau County Surrogate Court and Supreme Court. I am a member in good standing to the New York State Bar (admitted 1977) and the Florida Bar (admitted 1978).