Committee announces slate of Great Neck library board candidates

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The Nominating Committee has announced its slate of library board candidates. (Photo courtesy of the Great Neck Library)
The Nominating Committee has announced its slate of library board candidates. (Photo courtesy of the Great Neck Library)

The Great Neck Library’s Nominating Committee has endorsed only one incumbent for seven positions on the Board of Trustees and Nominating Committee for the Oct. 29 elections, according to the Great Neck Library.

The result could be a considerable shift in leadership for the library.

The Nominating Committee, which vets prospective candidates for positions, endorsed Liman Mimi Hu for the seat of Robert Schaufeld, who is currently the library board president.

They also selected David Zielenziger to run for Joel Marcus’ seat, Scott Sontag for Francine Ferrante Krupski’s seat, and Trustee Josie Pizer to run for the seat vacated by Douglas Hwee following the board voting to terminate him for alleged misconduct.

When asked if it was unusual for the Nominating Committee to select a swath of non-incumbents, Schaufeld said it “dependents on how many people submit their names to the Nominating Committee.”

“But in the years that I’ve been on the board, most of the incumbents were the Nominating Committee candidates,” Schaufeld said. “The first incumbent I remember not getting the nominating committee nod was Marietta [DiCamillo] last year.”

DiCamillo is currently one of five members, including Esterces, Panetta, Patrick McDonnell and Cheng Carey Ye, serving on the Nominating Committee.

Schaufeld said he hasn’t decided yet whether he intends to run for re-election as an independent candidate. It’s also unclear if the other incumbents will seek re-election.

“We won’t know until people file petitions,” Schaufeld said, noting that Aug. 15 is the filing deadline.

David Zielenziger, a journalist by profession who first ran as an independent candidate for the library board 26 years ago, said the Great Neck Library currently has several strengths such as its resources, array of programming, collection and staff that could make it the “national library of the year.”

Zielenziger said the board has members in many professions but nobody who has “extensively, like me, worked with words and writing,” and that he could bring a unique perspective to the board.

He also said he hopes to give back to the library and be part of a “board of volunteers who are committed solely to the benefit of the library and its welfare.”

“It’s a real asset and I’d be happy to be part of that,” Zielenziger said of the library.

Pizer, an educational consultant, previously served as a library board trustee for two terms. During that time, the Great Neck Library saw issues like a contentious bond vote for Main Library renovations, which were ultimately finished in late 2016, and a series of library directors coming and going.

Currently, she is filling the seat vacated by Hwee. If re-elected, Pizer will serve the two years remaining in his term until 2021.

Board members, who serve four-year terms, are responsible for all library appointments, developing a strategic plan and overseeing management of the library and its programs.

The board currently consists of seven members: Schaufeld, Rebecca Miller, Weihua Yan, Pizer, Marcus, Dr. Barry Smith, and Chelsea Sassouni, who was appointed last month.

The Nominating Committee also nominated Francine Ferrante Krupski, who served on the library board for six years but resigned halfway through her second term because she was traveling for three months and wanted to spend more time with her grandchildren, for the seat currently held by Howard Esterces.

They also selected William Gens to for the Nominating Committee seat of Donald Panetta and Alex Au for Samuel Gottlieb’s seat, which was vacated not long after his election last year due to work commitments.

Nominating Committee terms are three years.

The elections follow the hiring of Denise Corcoran as a library director to replace Kathy Giotsas, who was terminated last year, and the completion of Main Library renovations.

It also comes as the Great Neck Library eyes beautifying the area around its main building and renovating the Station and Parkville branch libraries.

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