Great Neck Village Mayor Pedram Bral appointed Trustee Barton Sobel to be deputy mayor at a board meeting last Tuesday night, filling a monthslong vacancy.
The deputy mayor runs the village board meeting if the mayor is absent and retains the duty of a trustee. Additionally, the deputy mayor can sign any checks that need to go out in the event the mayor cannot.
Sobel said that he was honored to be appointed and that it could take some pressure off Bral. But both Sobel and Bral noted that everyone on the board holds equal voting powers and similar responsibilities.
“Aside from running the meeting, I’m still a trustee,” Sobel said in an interview.
Residents first elected Sobel, a Great Neck-based lawyer, to the Board of Trustees in 2010 after former Trustee Edna Guilor stepped down. This makes Sobel the longest-serving trustee on the current board, with Norman Namdar being the second most senior member.
Bral, a physician, said Sobel’s different background and outlook, as well as his experience in the previous administration and where he worked, were factors in Sobel’s appointment.
Bral added that their relationship is respectful, friendly and cordial, even though they do not necessarily agree on everything.
“Bart’s been a great player and he’s been an amazing addition as well,” Bral said, noting that his administration seeks candidates based on qualifications rather than partisanship.
The previous deputy mayor was Ray Plakstis, a lifelong firefighter who resigned from the board due to health issues related to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Steven Hope was appointed to fill his trustee seat in April and held his seat in the June 20 election.
At the time of Hope’s appointment, Bral said he wanted to consider his options carefully before rushing into selecting a deputy mayor.