Urging residents to ‘smell the flowers’

Former S.C. mayor bringing her expertise to county position


Last month, Laura Curran named seven new agency leaders as she took over the county executive’s office, and one of them was former Sea Cliff Mayor Eileen Krieb.

“I felt that with my wealth of information and experience, I was a qualified candidate,” Krieb said. The village native, who served three terms as mayor, was named commissioner of Nassau County’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Museums.

She formerly sat on the village’s architectural review board, and was a trustee for two years and mayor for six years, from 2001 to 2006.

During her third term, while assessing maintenance of the village’s sewer system, Krieb got to know Peter Gerbasi, a former deputy county executive who oversaw the county’s public works and parks departments under Tom Suozzi. She was hired as Gerbasi’s assistant in 2006.

Krieb then became deputy commissioner of the parks department, where she oversaw a number of historic properties and worked closely with other departments to improve county parks. She held the job for eight years.

“Through this opportunity, I was the representative to the Legislature,” she explained, “so I did all the contracts, I negotiated with different vendors, worked on the budget and had an array of experience.”

Krieb said that she has “real hands-on experience” too, working in every realm of the parks department. She has worked with numerous partners and nonprofits to renovate and restore county properties such as Sands Point, the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center, and Bethpage Village. She has brought many improvements to the county’s parks, including the installation of synthetic-turf fields, the improvement of playgrounds and the construction of cabanas at Nickerson Beach. With the county attorney’s office, she drafted vendor contracts and oversaw park grants for summer entertainment.

Additionally, Krieb worked with the county’s real estate management company in supervising properties designated as veterans housing. “If they needed approvals to get things repaired, or tenants moved in and out, I had daily involvement there,” she said.

Working in local government runs in the family, it seems — both Krieb’s grandfather and uncle were village mayors, and her father sat on the board of trustees.

Sea Cliff Mayor Edward Lieberman said he believed Krieb was well qualified for her new position. “I congratulate former Mayor Krieb for being named the new commissioner,” he said. “Her expertise in executive organization and responding to the needs of the residents of Nassau County is something I am sure will be recognized by all.”

Krieb attributed her success at the county level to her time as mayor. “My accomplishments in Sea Cliff, and the camaraderie I’ve built among the people who live there, are probably what gave me the faith and trust to move forward,” she said. “I’m not a political person, but I’m a person who feels good when I’m helping others.”

She said she was focused on helping residents realize all that the county parks have to offer. “I think the Nassau County parks system is a true treasure that many of us aren’t aware of, and that’s something I learned when I came to work here,” she said. “Being from Sea Cliff, we seem to hibernate within those walls because we’re very comfortable, but there’s a whole new world out here with a lot of opportunities for many people.”

She cited Eisenhower Park, which is larger than Manhattan’s Central Park, and properties on the north and south shores that offer a broad range of amenities. “If everyone just takes a moment to smell the flowers, it’s a good place to come,” she said.

Krieb’s main priorities as parks commissioner will include streamlining department services and examining costs, maintaining diverse programming and, most important, listening to residents. “It’s important to listen,” she said. “These properties are nestled within someone’s home community, and sometimes what we think our constituents may need may not be what everybody wants.”

Naturally, she has an affinity for the outdoors, enjoying the beach, boating and biking with her family. “I really appreciate where we live and the beauty that we have here on Long Island,” she said.

Describing herself as dedicated, engaged and passionate, Krieb said she plans to apply these strengths to her new position. “I get self-satisfaction out of doing things to improve the communities in which we live and help people reach their own wishes,” she said. “Many times you work with different people, but everyone has the same distinction, because they want good things for our county.”