Two candidates are competing for a seat on the Manhasset Public Library Board of Trustees as Trustee William McLean prepares to step down after a five-year term.
The library’s April 10 election will allow Manhasset residents to select a new trustee and vote on the 2019-20 budget, which, as proposed, sits at $5.4 million.
Trustee candidate William Hannan said that his 25 years in public finance could serve the library board well, and candidate Mukul Puri said he would make gathering feedback from the public a top priority.
Hannan has lived in Manhasset since 2004. He is the Manhasset Chamber of Commerce secretary. He currently works at Hamptons Risk Management Insurance Brokerage.
Puri moved to Manhasset it 2015. He has experience as the vice president of RCS Real Estate Advisors and as a commercial real estate consultant.
Both candidates say that the library is a valuable resource.
“We have always found the library to be the heart of our community – for fun-filled Saturdays with our kids, attending the many children’s programs or taking my parents when they visit,” Puri wrote in a candidate statement. “It serves to be a great resource for both physical books and digital formats.”
Hannan said he sees the library as a community center of sorts that provides space and resources for a variety of uses.
He currently co-chairs Manhasset Secondary School’s Frolic event for seniors, which holds planning meetings at the library, and when studying for an investment advisers exam he used the quiet rooms.
“I think sometimes people view the library as just a place to take out a book or use a laptop, buts it’s a place to gather and participate and get to know each other,” he said.
There will be a candidates night at the library on Monday at 7 p.m.
The $5.4 million proposed budget is a 2.9 percent increase from the current year’s budget of $5.25 million. It is within New York’s tax cap.
“Prudent fiscal management to date has allowed [the Manhasset Public Library] to propose an overall budget that provides the continued uninterrupted service that our community has come to expect,” the library board’s president, Charles Jettmar, wrote in an email to Blank Slate Media. “With that, we continue to be able to propose modest increases in both the print and electronic material line items.”
One of the most significant changes will be geared toward building improvements, Jettmar said. The library has hired an architectural design consultant, he said.
“We are reviewing how to make our space more secure, with upgraded technology that better supports community needs, while offering greater flexibility — with more seating, more kinds of seating, more options around silent study, quiet space, conversational and meeting areas,” Trustee Judith Esterquest wrote in an email.
Jettmar and Esterquest said that McLean’s practical disposition has been an asset to the board.
“These publicly elected individuals are volunteers who dedicate significant personal time to the library and to their fellow board members,” McLean wrote in an email. “My term naturally ends this year and I am looking forward to directing my newfound free time toward other volunteer opportunities.”
McLean joined the board in 2014 after winning the open seat in an election. He spent two of his years on the board as president.
“Bill brings a calm rationality to every discussion, along with a pragmatic focus about ‘What’s the point?’ and ‘What’s the decision?’” Esterquest said. “Outside of discussing library business, I’ve always appreciated Bill’s quiet wit and human warmth. I’ll miss him immensely.”