Manhasset library candidates to meet in forum

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Three candidates are vying for the Manhasset Public Library trustee position held by Donald O’Brien in next month’s election.

O’Brien is seeking his second, five-year term to the board, while residents Bill Harvey and Gloria Su are challenging.

Voting in the election will take place April 15 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the library, located at 30 Onderdonk Ave.

O’Brien, Harvey and Su have agreed to participate in a candidates forum at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the library, hosted by the League of Women Voters of Port Washington-Manhasset.

In a biography submitted to the League of Women Voters, O’Brien said his re-election would be significant in providing the board with varying degrees of experience, as every other trustee has served less than one term. 

O’Brien in his biography said his 30-plus-year career in finance has contributed to his role as library treasurer and accomplishments in maintaining budgets within the state tax cap as well as reducing building operations and maintenance costs.

“I was a member of the board in 2011 that amended the by-laws to limit a trustee to two terms. The objective was to strike a balance so that a trustee could fully utilize the knowledge gained in the first term to advance the library in the second term while also providing an opportunity for others with new ideas and skills to serve,” said O’Brien, who is also a Manhasset-Lakeville Water and Fire District commissioner and member of the American Legion Post 304.

“I ask Manhasset residents to re-elect me as a Manhasset Public Library trustee so that I can continue to make a contribution and work with Library Director Maggie Gough and the four other members of the library board during this era,” he added.

Harvey, a six-year Munsey Park resident, said in his biography that he hopes to utilize best practices and the lessons he’s learned in his real estate career in assisting the library in “reaching its full potential,” primarily by ensuring the stability of the library’s physical structure and continuing its digital initiatives as technology evolves.

He has worked in commercial real estate for more than 20 years, and helped broker a deal with the New York Genome, Inc., a consortium of hospitals and universities, for its Manhattan headquarters. The Georgetown University alumnus also represented the Big East Athletic Conference relocate its headquarters from Providence, R.I. to New York City.

“In a time of fiscal austerity, prudent financial management requires that we must also decide how to properly allocate resources for both current users and also for the generations to come,” Harvey said.

Harvey is a longtime member of the Cristo Rey New York High School advisory committee, responsible for fundraising and corporate outreach.

Su, a Manhasset resident since 2003, is an associate professor at Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan whose research focuses on pancreatic cancer and head and neck malignancies, according to a biography submitted to the League of Women Voters.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University, her Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Chicago and completed postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins University.  

Her responsibilities at Columbia include providing a vision and research direction, overseeing finances and budgets and managing staff. 

Efforts to reach Su for comment were unavailing.

According to her biography, Su is knowledgeable about creating consensus among differing opinions.

She has worked with several local organizations, including the Shelter Rock Elementary School Decision Making Team, the Manhasset School District’s Citizens Advisory Committee for Finance, the Chinese American Association of North Hempstead and the Manhasset School Community Association’s Education Committee.

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