Panetta, Smith elected to Great Neck Library board

Robert Pelaez
The public voted to eliminate the Great Neck Library Nominating Committee on Monday. (Photos courtesy of the Great Neck Library)

A pair of trustee positions were filled by the candidates endorsed by the Nominating Committee, Donald Panetta and Barry Smith, during Monday’s Great Neck Library election.

Panetta, a former committee member and financial analyst, defeated his opponent, Kim Schader, by 513 votes to 465.

“I would like to thank the Great Neck Library community for their trust and support in me and for giving me the opportunity to serve as a Trustee for the next 4 years,”  Panetta said in a statement to Blank Slate Media. “I look forward to working on the board and completing many of the open projects.”

Smith retained his seat on the board after defeating challenger Douglas Hwee by fewer than 40 votes. Smith, a hospital physician and instructor of emergency medicine, received 505 votes and  Hwee got 469.

Smith reiterated the importance of diversity at the library and called for the end of divisiveness in a statement to Blank Slate Media.

“I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to work with the Great Neck Library. I want to first thank all of those that ran as I have stated that all members of our community that want to volunteer their time should be commended,” Smith said.

“I also want to thank all those that came out to vote, especially those that supported me in giving me your trust to make this library one of the best libraries not only in Nassau County but in the state. We are a community that is rich in diversity and I want to embrace this in all programming that we do here at Great Neck Library. I want to invite all members of the Great Neck Community to be involved in improving what we do by giving us your suggestions.

“I look forward to completing all of our capital improvement projects … This is our library and together we will make it a center of learning and a place where all are welcome.”

Panetta and Smith were elected to four-year terms that will end in January 2026.

A  proposed measure to eliminate the library’s Nominating Committee fell short. Although 526 people voted to eliminate the committee and 391 in favor of keeping it, the vote was below the 67 percent required to pass.

In elections for the Nominating Committee, two members were chosen.  Kate Berman, who received 501 votes, defeated Sara Rivka Khodadadian, who received 180 votes, for the seat held by William Gens. Josie Pizer received 322 votes and won a seat held by Francine Ferrante Krupski.

Both of those seats will be three-year terms that will expire in January 2025.

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