Great Neck elects two to library board, nominating committee

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Library candidates
Library candidates Cheng "Carey" Ye, Weihua Yan and Dr. Barry Smith addressed potential voters at a forum on Wednesday night. Sam Gottlieb could not attend. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Great Neck residents took to the polls on Monday, electing two new library trustees and two new nominating committee members in largely uncontested races.

Weihua Yan, who was running for Marietta DiCamillo’s expiring trustee seat, secured 235 votes, while Dr. Barry Smith, who went for Michael Fuller’s expiring trustee seat, got 130 votes.

Smith said his priorities are going to be advancing early age activities and programs, looking into getting more books, and properly bringing together new technology with old-fashioned books.

“It’s exciting to know that I’m going to be a member of the Great Neck Library and that we can make a difference and review the things that are good and change things for the better,” Smith said.

Efforts to reach Yan were unavailing.

Yan and Smith will join Robert Schaufeld, Joel Marcus, Francine Ferrante Krupski, Rebecca Miller and Josie Pizer, who was chosen by the board to fill the trustee seat vacated by Douglas Hwee after board members voted to remove him for alleged misconduct, on the Board of Trustees in January.

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

Their terms will last until 2022, while Pizer’s lasts until 2019.

Cheng “Carey” Ye and Samuel Gottlieb, meanwhile, won their uncontested races to join the Nominating Committee. Ye won 230 votes, while  Gottlieb garnered 125 votes.

Ye was originally slated to go against Pizer, a former library trustee, for Marie Franzoni’s committee seat. Pizer, however, dropped from the race to ultimately be selected to fill Hwee’s vacated trustee seat until 2019.

Five people voted for Pizer by proxy ballot prior to her withdrawal from the race.

“I feel happy and I feel that we are embracing a lot of responsibilities, however, I feel that this is a collective work,” Ye said, noting that they will have to work together with the community.

“I hope our library can get even better,” Ye said.

Ye, who is married to Yan, and Gottlieb will join Howard Esterces, Donald Panetta and Patrick McDonnell on the Nominating Committee in January.

Marianna Wohlgemuth was chosen by the board to fill Omer Soykan’s vacated seat on the committee, following his unsuccessful effort to be appointed to fill Hwee’s seat. She will hold the seat until January, when Gottlieb fills the position.

Their terms are three years long and will last until 2021.

Members of the Nominating Committee vet and recommend library candidates for trustee positions, but do not have the power to appoint them.

Each candidate this year was endorsed by the Nominating Committee.

The elections come as the library plans on implementing a landscaping plan, comes to terms with finished renovations of the main library, implements an RFID system and searches for a new library director following Kathy Giotsas’ termination earlier this year.

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