Two incumbent trustees and the village mayor are being challenged by two political newcomers in the June 20 election in Great Neck, where transparency has emerged as a key campaign issue.
Longtime village resident Rebecca Rosenblatt Gilliar is challenging Mayor Pedram Bral, who is running for a second term.
Adam Harel and incumbents Annie Mendelson and Steven Hope are running for two at-large trustee seats.
Gilliar, 74, is running for mayor on the Village Unity Party ticket. She was previously a vocal advocate for Bral, organizing a tight but ultimately unsuccessful write-in campaign for him in 2013. She supported him again two years later.
Gilliar said the village board has kept the public in the dark about significant issues, such as contracting with Vigilant Fire Company and meetings with real estate developers.
“We’ve never been involved in any of these questions,” Gilliar said. “Transparency is again a big deal.”
If elected, she said she would bring the community into the decision-making process, including holding public meetings on the future of village hall.
Gilliar also said that Middle Neck Road is in serious need of attention and she would plan a study to revive and beautify the area.
She has previously served as chairwoman of the United Parent Teachers Council for 12 years, and recently organized a free book bazaar using thousands of volumes discarded by the Great Neck Library.
Bral, 46, a physician, is running for re-election on the Village Alliance Party. He said that serving as mayor for the past two years has given him a full understanding of how the village operates.
He said he has focused on cost savings, such as converting the village’s lighting to LED bulbs, and halving a $1 million structural deficit that he said his administration inherited.
If re-elected, Bral said, he will continue working to “make Great Neck a destination point” and revitalize the village’s business district.
“My priority is to bring new anchor stores that will help other stores to get some traffic,” Bral said.
Adam Harel is running for trustee on the Village Unity Party. Harel, 43, works in dermatology sales and said he believes in greater transparency, especially regarding land deals.
“Everything needs to be seen at the local level and it can’t be behind closed doors,” Harel said.
Harel also pledged to re-establish the village newsletter.
Mendelson, 52, a software product manager, was elected in 2015 with Bral. She is running on the Village Alliance Party line for a second term and said she hopes to “continue accomplishing” projects such as increasing village efficiency.
“In general, I feel the village is a kinder and friendlier place.”
Mendelson said that if re-elected, she would continue working to grow the business district and potentially “simplify the permit process more.”
Steven Hope, 51, works in property management and is running on the Village Alliance Party line months after being appointed to the board following trustee Ray Plakstis’ resignation. Hope previously served on the village Planning Board for nearly a year.
Hope said that he wants to do what he can to make the building department run more smoothly, such as streamlining application processes for residents.
“We are here to work for the residents,” Hope said.
Voting will be held on June 20 from noon to 9 p.m. at Village Hall, located at 61 Baker Hill Rd. in Great Neck.