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Pedram Bral takes office as new mayor in Great Neck Village

Pedram Bral stands outside Great Neck Village Hall

Pedram Bral stands outside Great Neck Village Hall on Tuesday, June 18, 2015. Bral official took over the office of mayor of Great Neck on July 6, after winning the June 16 election. Photo Credit: Uli Seit

The era of Mayor Pedram Bral officially started Monday at noon, 15 minutes after he drove up to Great Neck Village Hall in his white Tesla, emerged from the car, greeted a man with a handshake and walked to the front door.

Bral, 45, took office nearly three weeks after a decisive election in which he defeated four-term Mayor Ralph Kreitzman. He and two new village trustees are to be sworn in at a village board meeting Tuesday.

"I haven't even seen my desk yet," Bral said on his way into Village Hall.

He met with Joe Gill, the village clerk-treasurer, and prepared to address about a dozen staff members.

"I think today's the expectations day," Bral said after a day that started with breakfast with his children at home and taking his car to the auto shop to fix a puncture caused by a nail.

Bral and Gill first waded into village conflicts: issues surrounding the trees on one property and overgrown landscaping on another.

"They're paying their taxes. They're just not cutting their grass," Gill said after Bral, a physician and director of Minimally Invasive & Robotic Gynecologic Surgery at Maimonides Medical Center, wondered about the welfare of the owner.

Experts and community leaders have called the mayor's 1,040-391 victory historic for the village of 10,000 residents as Bral, who emigrated from Iran three decades ago, joins a growing number of Iranian-Americans holding political office on the Great Neck peninsula. About a quarter of village residents are of Iranian descent and call themselves Persians.

Before addressing his staff, Bral said he has no concerns about leading employees who had worked under Kreitzman.

"The plan is to make the place more friendly," Bral said, adding that the message to the staff must be "that we're going to serve the community, not to govern the community."

A few minutes past noon, when his term became official, Bral exited his office to greet the staff in the main office.

Atop his new desk was a layer of dust and a "Smart Growth" award recognizing the village for recent zone changes that condensed the business district and allowed more apartments and town houses to be built.

Bral had opposed those changes during his campaign.

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