The Great Neck Village Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Steven Hope to fill Ray Plakstis’ vacant seat on Tuesday night, officially bringing the board back to five members.
The board had operated with only four trustees for roughly the last year or so.
Former Deputy Mayor Plakstis, a lifetime firefighter, had resigned due to health issues developed since responding to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Hope, a 19 year Great Neck resident born in South Africa, has been a trustee at Great Neck PAL for eight years and president of the Brotherhood at Temple Beth-El for 2 years.
Hope was also on Great Neck’s planning board for a few months. Hope has helped with food pantries, raised money for Temple Beth-El and done charity work.
Hope said in an interview that while adjusting to the seat may be “a little bit daunting,” he is not too nervous, and intends to keep the village running efficiently.
“I’m feeling optimistic and eager to get started and see what’s going on in the village,” Hope said, noting that he aims to improve the village’s efficiency.
Since Plakstis’ term would have ended this year, Hope must hold his seat in the June 20 election.
Mayor Pedram Bral and Trustee Anne Mendelson will also be defending their seats.
Bral said that while Hope is filling the trustee seat, that does not automatically make Hope deputy mayor. Such an appointment needs to be approved by a board vote.
While it is possible that a vote could come as early as next week, it is not guaranteed.
“To be as sensitive as possible, I’d like to take as much time as possible appointing someone to his position as deputy,” Bral said. He added that Hope should be present when such a vote takes place.
The position of deputy mayor primarily entails running the public meetings, should the mayor be absent. “In other words, you could survive without a deputy mayor appointment,” Village Clerk-Treasurer Joe Gill said.
Residents will have a chance to see Steven Hope at the next board of trustees meeting on May 2.