Manhasset library trustee candidates talk goals, experience

Manhasset library trustee candidates talk goals, experience
Mukul Puri (left) and William Hannan speak at the Manhasset Public Library candidates night. They are facing off for a seat on the library's Board of Trustees. (Photo by Myles Goldman)

By Myles Goldman

Patrons of the Manhasset Public Library challenged library trustee candidates William Hannan and Mukul Puri at the League of Women Voters candidates night on Monday.

Questions ranged from “How can you improve the library?” to one about the candidates’ prior involvement with the Manhasset Public Library.

While the library building is only 15 years old, residents said they would be interested in having some renovations done and asked what the candidates could offer.

“My day job is managing retail locations for retailers like Ann Taylor, Brooks Brothers, etc., and those are constantly undergoing renovations and subtracting space, adding space and upgrading space, so I manage that process for retailers so I have a good amount of experience in that category,” Puri said.

Hannan said the library could be renovated to be more digitally minded.

“I think generally, stacks of books aren’t used quite as often as they were a generation ago so I know our current renovation will be an arc upon that,” Hannan said. “I would look and see if there’s any ideas for tweaking but I think that’s probably the general trend, which is that book stacks are less utilized and technology-driven information solutions are.”

Hannan, a native of East Rockaway, has a degree in finance and public administration. His professional career started in finance where he co-managed the $2 billion tax-exempt commercial paper program. Later, he became an institutional fixed-income salesman and worked with Chemical Bank, Raymond James and JP Morgan.

He ran for a library board trustee position last year against incumbent Charles Jettmar. Hannan lost by a single vote.

Puri, a graduate of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science along with Temple University’s School of Risk Management and Insurance, is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and Management Turnaround Association.

Puri also volunteers with his wife at Project Sunshine and the Ronald McDonald House.  At Project Sunshine, he helps provide a positive experience for hospitalized children. While at the Ronald McDonald House, he and his family cook.

The two candidates are both Manhasset residents.

Hannan is the secretary of the Manhasset Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Manhasset Booster Club, but he is not currently involved with the library.

Puri said he has an appreciation for the library and how it creates opportunities for him to spend time with his children, Arjan, a first-grader at Shelter Rock Elementary School, and Rahm, 2, who Puri says will attend Our Lady of Grace Montessori School.

“I can’t say that I use the library a lot for myself because every free minute I have is for my children,” Puri said.

Hannan’s youngest child is 12 and oldest is 19.

“My kids are a bit older, but I was here for the North Shore Audubon Society meeting a few days ago, and I came into an Asian American society expo last month I believe,” Hannan said.

The election will take place on April 10 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. The library’s proposed $5.5 million budget will also be on the ballot.

“Hopefully we both serve on the board together at some point,” Hannan said of himself and his opponent. “We’re both caring people about our community and our library.”

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