Readers Write: Pensions and Part-Time Plaza Politicians

The Island Now

I previously wrote that as businesses in Great Neck continue to shutter and our downtown continues to erode, it is fair to say that our community is suffering from a lack of leadership.

The article “Plaza Parking Not A Problem: United Residents Party Addresses Alleged Misconceptions in Village Ahead of Elections” in the Feb. 28 issue of the Great Neck News was another missed opportunity to shine a light on the problems that afflict this community. Our simple reality is that part-time career politicians camped out at Gussack Plaza won’t be able to breathe life into this community. They lack clarity and conviction, and in more than a few cases, they have carelessly mismanaged the village for decades.

Ted Rosen and Pam Marksheid are vying to be elected mayor and trustee respectively and they speak as if this election is about their many years of service and success. Not surprisingly, these absent politicos aren’t concerned that shopkeepers don’t know their names, that village residents probably couldn’t point them out in a lineup, and that the staff at Village Hall can’t depend on them for guidance and leadership.

Ted Rosen and Pam Marksheid have long collected paychecks as supercilious paperweights. In fact, independently and collectively, they suffer from a poverty of ideas, to borrow a line.

As Ted Rosen contends to be mayor, working part-time and earning $65,000 a year in salary, plus health benefits and a pension, you would think that he’d be astute enough to have a plan to revitalize the Plaza.

Rather, in the recent article referenced above, Ted points out that he won’t make “empty statements that lack specifics like revitalize the downtown.” Rather, Ted talks in circles and offers nothing in the way of ideas, plans, needed change, or any specifics about his empty record and his nonexistent platform. He might as well campaign on the notion that he believes he deserves the $65,000 paycheck plus benefits, courtesy of Plaza taxpayers, because of his long-suffering in the shadows of Jean Celendar.

As Pam Marksheid notes in the article, “experience does count” and she suggests that by electing her and Ted, also known as the illustrious gang of do-nothings, they will start to do something under a new regime. I suppose that since Ted entered the fray in Village Hall 35 years ago in 1985, followed by Pam, who was appointed in 2008, they haven’t yet been given a chance to do something.

This illustrious gang of do-nothings note in their public comments, that their primary concern is the “safety of the residents.” However, isn’t it fair to say that they have been intentional in their systematic and methodical failed approach to address the reality that this community suffers from—one of the highest rates of pedestrian and vehicular accidents than most other communities in the state of New York? I suppose 35 years in office wasn’t enough time to address their primary concern about resident safety!

Consider the fact that Ted Rosen and Pam Marksheid were responsible for the ridiculous bike lanes added near the post office—on a street where one takes their life into their own hands just trying to cross at a crosswalk. Perhaps these masterminds of illogical urban planning thought adding bicycle dodgeball to the neighborhood would be a fun spectator sport for all those in the area. Hey Ted and Pam, just how many hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars did you allocate to complete this project?

With each passing day – and dollar – we can count on Ted Rosen and Pam Marksheid not to address the quality of life issues that are taking hold of our village such as terrible parking, dangerous and illogical pedestrian crossings, high commercial vacancy rates, and a looming real estate crisis that will affect the value of every co-op and home in the community. We get it Ted and Pam, it is hard to defend the indefensible.

Since Ted Rosen wants you, the voter, to believe he has your best interest in mind, here are a few stats to warm your kishkes. Great Neck Plaza taxpayers have paid out more than two million dollars over the past 20 years in salary, health insurance, pension contributions, and other special perks afforded to Ted Rosen and those among him in this group of part-time Plaza politicians.

Please visit where you are granted immediate access to salary information for Plaza employees. You can then call the Village Clerk and ask for the budget lines showing benefits and pension costs.

The village pays health insurance premiums for the families of part-time trustees too, including Ted Rosen. Their required employee contribution to receive this benefit is zero dollars.

At the same time, the village makes pension contributions each year to part-time Trustees, including Ted Rosen, at a rate that is higher than the national average. A decade ago, Ted was receiving a pension contribution of 15.8 percent per year. We should all be asking why our hard-earned tax dollars are being used to dole out pensions for people who work a few hours each month. What’s with the largesse Ted and Pam?

As a thank you, Ted Rosen, who along with Pam Marksheid and others, have long championed policies that have worked against improving the village and caused an erosion in the reputation of Great Neck as a prime shopping destination. I understand that the Plaza is the “center” of all things Great Neck, but one of these days we should tell our local officials that enough is enough already and hold them accountable for poor fiscal decision-making.

The system has run amok. As we go to the polls in a couple of weeks, I hope you will vote against Ted Rosen and Pam Marksheid. While I am sure that they are lovely neighbors, it is important to point out that their record is without substance or merit. They have done little to improve the quality of life of this community, and refuse to address why they accept outlandish taxpayer-funded benefits for part-time work. Unfortunately, this community is being asked to support a record that is based on flawed thinking and a sense of entitlement.

Serving the community should be about public service, not about the perks. Since most employers don’t offer part-time employees health insurance or pension plans, why should Great Neck Plaza taxpayers?

While everyone should engage in their civic responsibility and vote, I recommend that you bring a pen because it is likely you will have to write-in a candidate or two to send a clear message that enough is enough.

Michael S. Glickman
Great Neck Plaza

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