Salaries, benefits for Great Neck officials vary by village

Salaries, benefits for Great Neck officials vary by village

Of the nine villages that make up the Great Neck peninsula, only Mayor Jean Celender of the Village of Great Neck Plaza receives a full-time salary, making $65,000 per year.
The only other mayors on the peninsula that receive payment for their services are   Pedram Bral in the Village of Great Neck, who makes $10,000 annually, and Adam Hoffman in the Village of Lake Sucess, who makes $3,600 annually.
The remaining six village mayors in Saddle Rock, Kensington, Kings Point, Thomaston, Russell Gardens and Great Neck Estates are unpaid.
 Mayor David Tanner of East Williston, who is the former president of the Nassau County Village Officials Association, said that income for village officials varies depending on different factors.
“It’s fair to assume that it’s all based on workload,” Tanner said.
Population and size of commercial business area, he said, play the biggest role in determining if and what village officials are paid.
In Great Neck Plaza, there are 6,925 residents, according to 2015 U.S. Census Bureau data. There are also over 260 retail stores in the village.
In the Village of Great Neck, there are 10,143 residents, according to 2015 U.S. Census Bureau data. There are also over 130 retail stores in the village.
Lake Success has 3,030 residents, according to 2013 U.S. Census Bureau data.
According to the village’s website, 45 percent of the tax base is residential while the remaining 55 percent is commercial and industrial properties. Lake Success also owns and operates two golf courses.
Saddle Rock has 848 residents, Kings Point has 5,131 residents, Great Neck Estates has 2,801 residents and over 70 retail stores, Kensington has 1,175 residents, Russell Gardens has 951 residents and Thomaston has 2,637 residents, according to 2013 U.S. Census Bureau data.
Officials were reluctant to discuss the disparity in payment between village mayors and trustees.
Kensington Mayor Susan Lopatkin said members serve on the Board of Trustees “altruistically” to give “back to our community.”
Lopatkin said most residents are surprised to hear that trustees, for the most part, go unpaid.
“Would I like to be paid? Sure. Is there room in our village budget for an extra $1,000 or even $5,000? Maybe,” she said. “However because the job has always been a volunteer job, it is hard to justify the change.”
Lopatkin also said that some village officials are deserving of their pay based on the number of residents.
“There are some villages on Long Island which are larger than some towns in upstate New York, so it makes sense that those elected officials have some remuneration,” she said.
In Great Neck Plaza, Deputy Mayor Ted Rosen makes $12,500 annually, while Trustees Gerald Schneiderman, Pamela Marksheid and Lawrence Katz make $10,000 annually.
According to Village Clerk-Treasurer Patricia O’Byrne, Celender, Rosen and Schneiderman are the only officials that opted to accept full health insurance benefits from the village. The trio also contribute towards dental and vision insurance.
Trustees pay 20 percent of the premium for dental and vision insurance, with the village picking up the rest.
Marksheid and Katz, O’Byrne said, chose not to receive the benefits.
She also said that trustees put  3 percent  of their salary into the state retirement fund.
O’Byrne said the village pays an invoice to the state at the end of the year based on the “percentage of total salaries based on the plan tier.”
Efforts to reach Celender for comment were unavailing.
Trustees in the Village of Great Neck are also offered health and dental insurance.
Village of Great Neck Deputy Clerk Kaitlin Dugan said employees contribute 15 percent towards health and dental insurance, while the village contributes the remaining 85 percent.
Dugan also said that trustees have the option of enrolling in the state retirement system.
Efforts to reach Bral for comment were unavailing.
No other village officials receive insurance benefits or a pension.
Lake Success Village Administrator Patrick Farrell said trustees put in an “unbelievable amount of time” to ensuring village operations are handled properly and transparently.
But payment for village trustees has not increased in 20 years, Farrell said, and the board “never even considers raising it.”
Mayor Steven Weinberg of the Village of Thomaston, whose village has 2,637 residents, according to 2013 U.S. Census Bureau Data, said trustees “purely” serve for “the satisfaction of volunteering.”

By Joe Nikic

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