Great Neck Water Pollution Control District Commissioner Patty Katz and Great Neck Park District Commissioner Frank Cilluffo are running unopposed in their respective elections on Dec. 13.
Katz, nicknamed “Commissioner Treehugger” by her colleagues at the district, was first elected to the position in 2016. Preserving the environment, she said, has always been a great passion of hers.
A Great Neck resident for nearly 40 years, Katz has facilitated environmentally progressive discussions between politicians, combatted issues such as fracking and climate change, and hosted many public forums to educate the community on the environment as part of Reach Out America’s Green Committee.
Katz, who founded the committee, said the organization has partnered with officials throughout the town to improve the broader North Hempstead environment. She also helped initiate the peninsula-wide annual Shed the Meds event, something she said she is extremely proud to continue.
“I grew up in Great Neck, so Shed the Meds was one event where residents of Great Neck came and supported this and showed how environmentally conscious they are,” Katz said. “Not polluting and dumping unwanted or expired medications down the toilet or filling up their garbage with it makes me very happy as an environmentalist to be a part of this.”
Adjusting to life since the coronavirus, she said, the pandemic allowed the district to focus not only on the quality of wastewater, but how the district could also monitor it to further prevent the spread of the virus. The district recently received a grant to enhance wastewater testing and track the coronavirus, among other viruses, before a public outbreak is reported.
Under her supervision, the district was granted the 2018 New York State Environmental Excellence Award. Additionally, Katz received the Nassau County Comptroller’s Women Breaking Ground Award in 2017, and the May W. Newburger Women’s Roll of Honor in 2012.
Katz touted the importance of electing a commissioner with experience along with a variety of other environmental, ecological and general infrastructure knowledge.
“I think some people can think this can be a cushy job, but it’s really not,” she said. “We work very hard and we oversee a lot so you really have to know what you’re doing.
The election will take place on Dec. 13 from 1 p.m.- 9 p.m. at the district headquarters, 236 East Shore Road, Great Neck N.Y. For more information visit: https://gnwpcd.net/?page_id=18.
Cilluffo is a retired NYPD community affairs public safety director and a longtime resident of Great Neck. Cilluffo has a 19-year-old daughter, Francesca.
He was first elected to the position of commissioner in 2014 in a special election to fill the vacant seat that had been held by Ruth Tamarin. Cilluffo stepped in and worked with the other commissioners to see what improvements to the park could be made that would not be at the taxpayers’ expense.
Cilluffo was also re-elected to his seat in 2019.
Programs and events that have been implemented over the past eight years include a holiday tree lighting, enhanced commuter parking, pickleball for children, community gardens maintained by volunteer students and more.
An active member of the community beyond being park district commissioner, Cilluffo is involved with the Rotary Club and the Lighthouse Society, and is a youth hockey coach and a member of the Memorial Day Parade Committee.
If re-elected, Cilluffo will serve for another three years beginning on Jan. 1, 2023. The district election will take place Dec. 13 from 1 p.m.- 9 p.m. and is divided into four sectors for polling purposes.
The 1st District encompasses the Village of Kings Point, Saddle Rock Estates and areas of the Village of Great Neck that are east of Middle Neck Road and north of Hicks Lane and west of Middle Neck Road. The polling place for District 1 is the Great Neck House at 14 Arrendale Ave.
The 2nd District encompasses the area of the Village of Great Neck that is east of Middle Neck Road and unincorporated areas of the Town of North Hempstead that are south of the Village of Great Neck and north of the Village of Kensington. The polling place for District 2 is also the Great Neck House.
The 3rd District encompasses the villages of Great Neck Plaza, Thomaston and Kensington. The polling place is the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department Company #3 at 25 Prospect Street.
The 4th District encompasses the Village of Russell Gardens and other unincorporated areas within the town. These areas are the Great Neck Terrace Apartments, Lakeville, Upland, Lake Success Hills and Manor sections of Great Neck, and all other areas bounded by Great Neck Road on the north and west, Northern Boulevard on the south, and Middle Neck Road on the east. The polling place for District 4 is the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire District’s Company No. 4 Firehouse on 97 Jayson Ave.
Residents who are 18 years of age or older and have resided in the Great Neck Park District for at least 30 days prior to the election and are registered with the Nassau County Board of Elections at least 23 days prior to the election are eligible to vote.