Great Neck park commissioner race contested, minus one familiar name

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Daniel Nachmanoff amd Tina Stellato, candidates for park commissioner
Park Commissioner Daniel Nachmanoff, left, faces a challenge Tina Stellato, a park district employee. (Left photo courtesy of the Great Neck Park District; right photo from Tina Stellato's campaign flyer).

In every Great Neck Park District race since 2011, Neil Leiberman has run for a position as park commissioner.

But this year, he is not running in the election, scheduled for Dec. 12.

Leiberman, who has not won a seat, was not immediately available for comment.

He challenged incumbent Frank Cilluffo, a hockey coach and retired NYPD police officer with a degree in information technology, last year.

At the time, Leiberman said he was running because he was “passionate” about the park district and wanted to improve its programs and parking, be more fiscally responsible and work “more collaboratively” with entities like the schools and Gold Coast Arts Center.

This leaves this year’s park commissioner race between incumbent Daniel Nachmanoff, who is seeking his third term, and Tina Stellato, a Parkwood Tennis Center teacher for 17 years and a member of the E.M. Baker Elementary School PTO.

Nachmanoff, once the mayor of Russell Gardens and the Nassau County director of intergovernmental affairs, said he has always been passionate about the park district and intends to run on his record.

If re-elected, Nachmanoff said he intends to continue to find ways to raise revenue for the Great Neck Park District and continue a four-year streak of not raising taxes.

“This is a large organization and requires a lot of information, experience, expertise,” Nachmanoff said in an interview, noting the park district’s $18 million budget and more than 500 employees. “It’s not just grass and fields.”

Stellato, a parent of two children in the E.M. Baker Elementary School, said she is running because she wants to be able to help people who come to her and the board lacks the perspective of both a woman and a young parent.

If elected, Stellato said she would try to expand programs for children with special needs, stream the Tuesday and Thursday meetings so others can participate in park politics and improve the southern portion of the park district.

“I want to put myself in a position where I can help people,” Stellato said in a separate interview.

The Great Neck Park District Board of Commissioners has three elected members, Robert Lincoln, Nachmanoff and Cilluffo.

Their responsibilities include setting policy, the annual budget, overseeing district business, approving capital expenditures, insuring compliance with regulations and fielding residents’ concerns in a transparent manner, according to the district’s website.

The Great Neck Park District serves six of Great Neck’s nine villages: Great Neck, Great Neck Plaza, Kensington, Kings Point, Russell Gardens and Thomaston.

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