Two Great Neck library candidates share address

Two Great Neck library candidates share address
Great Neck Library Board President Robert Schaufeld, as seen at a recent board meeting. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

The Great Neck Library Nominating Committee’s slate of candidates for the committee and Board of Trustees includes a married couple, sources said.

Weihua Yan, a candidate for the Board of Trustees, and Cheng Ye, a candidate for the committee, are listed as living in the same house in Great Neck, a fact that initially escaped the Nominating Committee. The two also share an email address on WhitePages.

Yan and Ye did not immediately respond to email requesting comment.

Whenever there is to be a library election, the Nominating Committee typically vets candidates it believes would be suitable and recommends them. There were a dozen applicants for the board and committee this year.

A couple running together for two seats at the same time is allowed. However, it has raised questions about whether the Nominating Committee properly looked into the candidates.

“There is no specific prohibition in our policy manual against it, but I am very disappointed that the candidates did not disclose this information because I believe it is something that they should have disclosed,” said Robert Schaufeld, president of Great Neck Library’s Board of Trustees, noting that the committee has now been made aware.

“It’s a very strange mechanism and I would very much like to see it abandoned,” Schaufeld added of the Nominating Committee.

Trustees are responsible for all appointments, developing a strategic plan and overseeing management of the library and its programs.

Schaufeld said that the board voted last year to change its policy in regard to the Nominating Committee, no longer allowing board members to appoint two people to the committee. This was an attempt to keep the two entities from excessively influencing each other.

“We had changed our policy with regard to the Nominating Committee to avoid a potential appearance of impropriety,” Schaufeld said.

Marietta DiCamillo, who has served the board in various capacities, was not re-nominated for trustee by the Nominating Committee.

Yan would run for DiCamillo’s seat, while Dr. Barry Smith aims to fill Michael Fuller’s seat. Their terms would last from January 2018 to 2022.

Fuller said that after serving for five years, he wanted to give someone else a chance.
Meanwhile, on the Nominating Committee, Ye is competing for Marie Franzoni’s seat and Samuel Gottlieb will go for Omer Soykan’s. Their terms would be three years, lasting from January 2018 to 2021.

Rebecca Gilliar, a civic activist now on the library’s Director Search Committee, said that the couple likely had good intentions and that the board should have discussed potential problems regarding confidentiality, the committee’s independent role, the purposeful disconnection between the board and committee, and the possible “setting of a problematic precedent” with the couple.

“With the best of intentions, a couple decided to run in tandem for positions at the library in the next election, one for the Board of Trustees, one for the Nominating Committee,” Gilliar said. “When the board became aware the committee had inadvertently selected two people who are married to each other, it was the board’s responsibility to explain the complexity of problems this can pose in the future and recommend to the couple or the committee that they reconsider.”

People currently in those positions could still win re-election, however, and independent candidates are also able to compete for those spots. Nominations for those positions are due Aug. 15 and petitions can be found at the director’s office.

No posts to display


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here