Four candidates are vying for two trustee seats in the Village of Great Neck election on Tuesday, offering differing professional credentials and community involvement.
Running with Mayor Pedram Bral are incumbent Trustees Annie Mendelson and Steven Hope. Opposing them are mayoral hopeful James Wu and trustee hopefuls Julia Shields and Harold Citron.
Trustee Annie Mendelson, a software product manager for Refinitiv, has served on the village Board of Trustees since 2015 and also served on the Architectural Review Committee and as a representative to the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee.
Mendelson also worked in the defense and software industries before getting a teaching certificate in 2003, and teaching math at Great Neck North High School until 2013.
“My current work requires attention to detail as well as design work to create a better functioning and easily understood software product. Working for the Village requires similar skills,” Mendelson said. “When details are considered, and careful thought is applied, appropriate decisions can be made.”
Mendelson said she hopes to continue improving the quality of life in the village, work towards making the village website more user friendly, and contribute her knowledge and skills “to a board that continues to transparently and economically manage the village’s wise development while maintaining a necessary greenspace.”
“I am running for re-election because I wish to continue contributing towards improving the quality of life in the village, listening to residents’ ideas and suggestions, and finding solutions that preserve our environment and living space,” Mendelson said.
Trustee Steven Hope, a property manager at Park Row South Realty, has served on the village Board of Trustees since 2017 and was on the Planning Board from August 2015 to April 2017.
“I have had the pleasure of working on a productive Board of Trustees that made eco-friendly, low maintenance lights a reality in our village, saving our taxpaying residents money that would otherwise be spent on higher energy costs,” Hope said.
He said that he has co-chaired the Great Neck music festival and street fair, which provided village residents with “fun outdoor activities in the warm weather.” He said he has appreciated these events since he moved to Great Neck from South Africa as a young boy.
In addition to serving as trustee, Hope said he has been a coach, trustee and soccer commissioner at Great Neck PAL for 10 years and a former president of the Brotherhood of Temple Beth El, where the group undertook many community responsibilities like raising money and donations for the St. Aloysius food pantry.
Hope said he hopes to continue serving the community.
“I hope to be re-elected to my position as Great Neck Village trustee, so I can continue to serve the community I love,” Hope said. “I want to be part of the team that has already made many positive changes.”
Julia Shields, a housing specialist at Astella/BCS Development Corp. and longtime Great Neck resident, has been involved in community activism for decades.
According to campaign materials, she has been on the Board of the Great Neck and Manhasset Opportunity Council, the NAACP, president of the Academy Garden Tenants Association, and a campaign manager for the New York State Tenants and Neighbors Coalition.
Shields is also an active member of St. Paul’s AME Zion Church in Great Neck, chairing its board of trustees and serving as a class leader and president of the choir, as well as a member of the May W. Newburger Women’s Roll of Honor in the Town of North Hempstead.
Shields, at a recent Meet the Candidates night, said if elected trustee, she would speak up for what’s right and wants to see a more united community.
“I will not let anything just get done without being approved and done the right and correct way,” Shields said. “And I want Great Neck to be back to the way it was – that’s why we’re running as ‘The Village for All.’ Because I believe we are all one big family, living together in Great Neck.”
Harold Citron has a long career in finance, according to campaign materials, with eight years as an equity analyst at investment banks and 15 years as a credit analyst covering the retail industry.
“If we’re going to have a plan for a village and we’re going to look not towards 1950 but towards 2050 and beyond, you need to have people who have answers and to come up with ideas that are going to benefit everybody in the community and understand our limitations … and understand what benefits we are looking for as a whole,” Citron said at a previous forum.
Locally, Citron coached soccer and Little League teams for the Great Neck PAL league for 10 seasons and has been a member of the Rotary Club summer band. He has also been a member and president of his co-op board.
Additionally, Citron has been president of the Men’s Club of Temple Israel of Great Neck, a member of the temple’s board of trustees and its educational committees, and an organizer of Temple Israel’s involvement in New York City’s Israel Day Parade.