With much bon ami, the Town of North Hempstead bid a fond farewell to TONH Supervisor May Newburger. Ms. Newburger served five terms as North Hempstead town supervisor. Prior to her election as the first female chief executive of a Nassau County town, Ms. Newburger served for two years as a town councilwoman and for eight highly productive years in the New York State Assembly.
Supervisor May Newburger and her successor Jon Kaiman who was inaugurated on Jan 1.
At the reception held at Town Hall, Town Clerk Michelle Schimel had high praise for the well-respected Newburger. She likened her retirement from elected office to the retiring of an accomplished athlete. "May has stamina, strength and agility," said Schimel. And instead of retiring a "jersey," they retired her gavel. "If this gavel could talk," quipped Schimel, with a gleam in her eye.
The supervisor spoke of the sad part of leaving office, noting the intelligent, caring and fun people she would miss seeing on a daily basis. "I have a small family now," she said. She also spoke of her dwindling number of friends who had passed away over the years. With her usual tongue-in-cheek humor, she characterized their passing as "inconsiderate."
For the future, the supervisor told us that she plans to continue working, alluding to another position in government. However, for now, she's not disclosing that information.
As supervisor, she transformed a cumulative budget deficit of $7.0 million into a $7.7 million surplus and moved the town from the lowest to historically highest bond rating ever.
This was achieved through her long-term strategic planning which included the Debt Management and Capital Plans, which will reduce the town debt by approximately $107 million in 10 years.
Under her watch, the Town of North Hempstead was named "Town of the Year 1999" by the Long Island Development Corporation and received the "Quality of Life Award" from the Long Island Division of the American Society of Civil Engineers. She spearheaded the reclamation and rehabilitation of the infamous Morewood Property, leading to the creation of Harbor Links, one of the country's most environmentally friendly championship level golf courses which has earned the Environmental Stewardship Award and the very prestigious Audubon Signature Designation, the only one of three municipal courses in the world.
On the environmental front, Newburger had a long list of outstanding achievements. One of these was the establishment of the $15 million Environmental Legacy Fund which is being used for open space acquisition, restoration and protection of environmentally sensitive areas and for improvement and enhancement of coastal areas and waterways.
Additionally, she embarked on the most intensive federal lobbying effort to date and has already secured $200,000 from the EPA designating New Cassel as a Brownfields Pilot Community.
Also in line with her dedication to environmental concerns, under her watch the successful capping of two landfills was completed.
May Newburger has personally been active in dozens of local and national organizations over the years and has received innumerable awards and honors. In 1981, she served as a New York State delegate to the National White House Conference on Families and she chaired the American Jewish Congress' National Commission on Women's Equality from 1987 to 1989. She has been a member of the State Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts, the Governor's Commission on Domestic Violence and the State Commission on Child Care.
Supervisor Newburger earned a bachelor's degree from Hunter College, and she is a member of that school's Hall of Fame. She also holds a master's degree from Columbia University and post master's certificate in gerontological practice from Adelphi University. She is a resident of Great Neck and a widow with an adult son.