Candidates cite age, experience as assets in Great Neck race

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Perry Spector and Barton Sobel are two of three candidates vying for two seats on Village of Great Neck Board of Trustees. (Photos courtesy of the candidates)
Perry Spector and Barton Sobel are two of three candidates vying for two seats on Village of Great Neck Board of Trustees. (Photos courtesy of the candidates)

Three candidates are running for two trustee positions in the Village of Great Neck, with one touting experience and another youth as their greatest assets for the Board of Trustees.

Perry Spector, 20, of the Voice of the Village Party, said he decided to run for trustee because he wants to increase transparency, citizen involvement and add a new perspective to the village board.

“My age is my largest advantage and it’s my greatest asset,” Spector, a Great Neck North graduate attending Baruch College and majoring in finance, said in an interview. “I’m bringing a fresh perspective and that’s what residents want right now.”

Spector said he has heard some complaints from residents about LED lights installed throughout the village. He also said it seems people don’t seem to know they have a village government.

Some of the specific things Spector said he wants to do are live stream every meeting, create a new village newsletter, update the website and add a discussion board where people can comment instead of having to write letters or go in person to be heard.

“My slogan is ‘Everyone can play a part in village government,’” Spector said. “’Not just village government.’”

A rival candidate, Barton Sobel, 55, a Great Neck-based attorney who has served on the Board of Trustees since 2010 with the Great Neck Greater Village Party, said residents already have a strong voice in village government.

He said residents always have a chance to speak at public hearings, that he’s on the phone every day, and that the board does not take action behind closed doors. Sobel also noted  the creation of the citizens advisory committee for the revitalization of Middle Neck Road, which has drawn in community involvement.

“As far as the issue of residents having a voice in the village, it’s never been better,” Sobel said. “There is really very good representation and accessibility.”

Sobel also cited his experience as an advantage. In addition to serving on the Board of Trustees for eight years, he said he served on a parks citizen advisory board, Friends of the Great Neck Parks, the village planning board and attended many training sessions hosted by the New York Conference of Mayors.

“We have so many projects in progress right now and I’ve been working really hard with the rest of the board to get that done, including the [Essex] pedestrian bridge, the re-visioning of the downtown and the implementation of possible new zoning,” Sobel said.

If re-elected, Sobel said, he would hope to help bring these initiatives to fruition.

The campaign and June 19 elections come as the village is working with VHB, an engineering firm, and a citizens advisory committee to figure out ways to revitalize Middle Neck Road and East Shore Road and make the village a “destination” for empty nesters and new residents alike.

Before the Board of Trustees are also applications for a number of projects, including major redevelopment for the Millbrook Court apartments and refashioning an “underutilizing” building into an assisted living facility on the corner of Middle Neck Road and Hicks Lane.

The third candidate, Norman Namdar, 77, also of the Great Neck Greater Village Party, was not available for comment on Tuesday.

He is the second longest serving trustee.

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