Familiar faces, uncontested races in Great Neck on March 18

Familiar faces, uncontested races in Great Neck on March 18
Great Neck Plaza Justice Neil Finkston is one of several incumbent candidates across the Great Neck peninsula seeking re-election. (Photo courtesy of Neil Finkston)

Voters will head to the polls in six Great Neck villages on Tuesday, March 18, casting their ballots in uncontested races with largely familiar faces.

The six villages — Great Neck Plaza,  Great Neck Estates, Thomaston, Russell Gardens, Kensington and Saddle Rock — have a combined population of 15,337 people, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates for 2017.

Of these villages, Great Neck Plaza is the only one to pay its trustees, while Great Neck Estates is the only village with four-year terms. Every other elected village official serves two-year terms.

In Great Neck Plaza, which is home to more than 7,000 residents, Trustees Gerry Schneiderman and Lawrence Katz are running uncontested for their respective seats. They make $10,000 each in their positions and serve two-year terms.

Village Justice Neil Finkston, who has served in that position since April 2010, is also running for re-election.

Finkston was a former partner at a prominent Manhattan law firm, he said, before founding his own firm in 2012 in Great Neck Plaza that specializes in appellate litigation. He is also a member of the New York State Bar Association, Nassau County Bar Association and New York State Magistrates Association.

“During my time as Village Justice, I have presided over arraignments, plea dispositions and trials, and authored numerous legal opinions on a range of legal issues,” Finkston said. “However, in addition to performing those judicial responsibilities, I am equally proud of the fact that those with business before the court know that I am carefully and attentively listening to them and giving thoughtful consideration to their case.”

Schneiderman has served as trustee since 2000 and was the chairman of the Board of Zoning Appeals from 1982 to 2000. Katz, a certified public accountant and attorney who previously served three years on the village’s zoning Board of Appeals, has served since December 2012.

Schneiderman said one of his first accomplishments was instituting a five-minute grace period for their parking meters. Additionally, as a liaison to the Great Neck Plaza Business Improvement District, Schneiderman said he was “instrumental” in organizing the village’s restaurant weeks.

“Our summer restaurant programs where we close either Bond Street or Middle Neck Road are highly successful and our residents and their family and friends enjoy eating outside under the stars,” Schneiderman said.

Schneiderman also noted efforts to beautify streets and that he is a representative on the Nassau County Village Officials Association.

“With your support, I will continue to serve for two more years as a trustee and continue to help provide responsive, effective, local services to the residents of the Plaza, and address local community issues to better your quality of life,” Schneiderman said.

Great Neck Estates also has uncontested races for four-year terms instead of two due a law approved last year. Mayor William Warner, Trustees Jeffrey Farkas and Ira Ganzfried, and Village Justice Harry Burstein are running uncontested.

Warner has served on the Board of Trustees since 2001 and began his first full term as mayor in 2017, following the resignation of former Mayor David Fox.

Farkas was appointed in 2015 and serves as the deputy mayor of the village.

Thomaston Mayor Steven Weinberg, whose village is home to roughly 2,735 people, is running uncontested, as are Trustees Jill Monoson and Burton Weston. The positions are unpaid and their respective terms are two years each.

Weinberg, an attorney, became acting mayor in September 2014 after Mayor Bob Stern resigned, and became mayor about a month later. He has been serving as mayor since.

Jill Monoson, an attorney with the Great Neck firm Kestenbaum & Mark, began serving as a trustee in January 2015. Prior to that, she was a village justice from 1999 to 2009.

Weston, meanwhile, was elected in 2017 after Trustee Gary Noren decided not to seek re-election.

In Russell Gardens, population 878, David Miller, currently the acting mayor, is uncontested in his bid for mayor. This follows Steven Kirschner, the longtime mayor, retiring because he moved out of the village.

Russell Gardens Trustees Jane Krakauer, who has served since 2009 and Martin Adickman, who has served since 2003, are also seeking two-year terms uncontested.

Meanwhile in Kensington, home to about 1,131 people, Deputy Mayor Darren Kaplan and Trustee Alina Hendler are both running uncontested for two-year terms.

In Saddle Rock, with an estimated 728 residents, Mayor Dan Levy and Trustees Mark Collins and David Schwartz, currently serving as the deputy mayor, are uncontested in their respective bids.

Levy, an ophthalmologist in private practice, was elected to be the mayor of Saddle Rock after the death of Leonard Samansky in 2011.

He also served on the Board of Zoning and Appeals, on the Board of Trustees and as the village’s commissioner of parks and recreation, according to his biography on the village website.

Schwartz has served as a trustee since 2011, while Collins has been on the Board of Trustees since 2005.

The villages of Great Neck, Kings Point and Lake Success, hold their respective elections in June.

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