Written by Cory Twibell Friday, 14 October 2011 00:00
Town of North Hempstead Clerk Leslie Gross seems to be everywhere, even on her birthday.
On Sept. 20, Gross spoke at Westbury’s Powell’s Lane School, a small elementary school nestled just south of Jericho Turnpike.
“Local government is your opportunity to be involved in your community. If you have a question, you can be involved, you can be a leader in your community,” Gross said.
The ubiquitous Gross, who grew up in Great Neck and has lived in Manhasset since 1980, assumed the position of town clerk when Michelle Schimmel ran for the New York State Assembly in 2007. She studied speech pathology and deaf education in college – she received her bachelor’s degree at Ohio University and master’s at Northwestern University – and believes the value of education is more important now than ever.
“There is nothing you learn, in the classroom or in after school activities, is ever wasted,” Gross said.
Before assuming the post as clerk, Gross served as the executive director for the town’s Business and Tourism Development Corporation, a recently established program aiming to stimulate economic growth and raise awareness for the town’s community resources.
Gross also helped create two cable television programs for the town, “Around the Town” and “A Taste of the Town,” which gave residents a look at some of the businesses, museums and charitable organizations within the town’s borders.
Gross, seldom without a smile, explained her four main roles: license issuing, registrar of vital statistics, secretary to the board and records management officer.
The clerk also divulged into further details regarding her leadership roles in the town.
For licenses, Gross issues canine, hunting/fishing, taxi/limousine, clothing collection bins, second-hand dealer licenses and more.
The clerk can also perform marriages anywhere in the town, as Gross was present at the town’s historic same-sex marriage ceremony in July and has officiated more than 200 weddings since becoming clerk. She also handles birth and death certificates, noting she signed approximately 6,000 birth certificates last year alone for babies born in the Town of North Hempstead. Each Tuesday, she’s the secretary to the town at its weekly board meetings.
A program in which Gross takes great pride is the “Hometown Heroes” initiative within the Town of North Hempstead. Gross explained how a young man from Port Washington – in lieu of presents for his 10th birthday sought to give toys and blankets for dogs without owners in the town’s shelters – became the first Hometown Hero in North Hempstead.
“You don’t have to be a boss, elected official or adult to make a difference,” said Gross.
The clerk has been married for over 30 years to Howard Gross, a management consultant. Howard and Leslie are the proud parents of two married sons and grandparents of three.
For more information on Gross and the Town of North Hempstead, visit www.northhempsteadny.gov.