Glen Cove Mayor Pamela Panzenbeck says she wasn’t raised to sit around. She was raised to do things to help her community.
The Republican incumbent is proud of her accomplishments since she took over as mayor in last year, and plans to run for re-election on Nov. 7. Before taking office, Panzenbeck saw that the city’s parks and beaches had been left to deteriorate, which, she said, was heartbreaking. She has overseen major repairs of public facilities since taking office.
The steps in Morgan Park, which had collapsed, were rebuilt. The seawall has been repaired, and the walkway along the water is new. Many of the benches had rotted wood covered with mold, but public works employees removed their memorial plaques, replaced the rotted slats with new wood and reaffixed the plaques. The upper restroom has been renovated, and has new plumbing and fixtures and a new roof. City Stadium and the golf course have also been upgraded.
A lifelong resident of the city, Panzenbeck, 70, is a graduate of Glen Cove High School and a former student at Landing School. Her family has a rich history on the North Shore, and when it comes to serving the community, several of her relatives set an admirable example for her when she was a child. Her great-grandfather and great-uncle were both commissioners of the Department of Public Works. Her aunt started the girls’ softball league, now named the Martha Donaldson League.
Panzenbeck has carried on that legacy of service while raising a family. She and her husband of 42 years, Bob, have two sons, 40 and 38, a daughter, 35, and seven grandchildren.
A business and computer education teacher in the Levittown school district for 34 years, Panzenbeck retired in 2008. She never expected to be in politics, but since she retired, her life has been full of volunteerism. She was a member of the Glen Cove Hospital Auxiliary, and is active at St. Patrick’s Church. She was also the liaison to the Glen Cove Youth and Senior Advisory boards.
Panzenbeck lost her first run for the City Council in 2009, but ran again in 2013 and won. She was re-elected twice, but lost in a blue wave in 2019 that ended the Republican majority in city government. She hadn’t planned to run for mayor in 2021, but decided to at the relative last minute at the insistence of then Deputy Mayor Donna McNaughton.
Panzenbeck said she is running for re-election because she believes she has made a difference.
“Being a mayor is exciting, exhilarating and stressful,” she said. “It’s every emotion that you can imagine, but it’s great being mayor of my home town.”
The job, she said, is more stressful than she thought it would be. Balancing her work and home life can be difficult at times, and she rarely has a day on which there isn’t something for her to do as mayor.
Panzenbeck’s major frustrations are that she can’t always spend money on things she wants for the city, and that she can’t make everyone happy. Two of the hardest things about her job, she said, are keeping taxes under control and keeping services operational. She also wants to pay down the city’s deficit.
“The hardest thing to me about government is that I’m a person of action,” Panzenbeck said. “Everything in government moves slowly.”
If she is re-elected, she said, two of the biggest challenges she will face will be continuing to maintain the city’s water infrastructure, with its high cost, and renovating the city’s parking garages.
“I really think people should vote for me, because I’ve accomplished so many great things in the short time that I’ve been the mayor,” Panzenbeck said, “and I need to keep that momentum going.”