A very familiar face is moving to a new place, and taking 30 years of village government experience with him.
Steven Kaufman officially stepped down as Hewlett Bay Park’s mayor on March 3, ending his ninth consecutive two-year term. He took over the role in early 2004 after Mayor Mitchell Sahn resigned. “Here I am still, more than 18 year later,” Kaufman told trustees.
Kaufman is leaving the community of just 430 people for the Village of Atlantic Beach, just five miles away. Succeeding him is Deputy Mayor Alex Salomon.
Kaufman moved to Hewlett Bay Park in 1990, finding the small municipality a “beautiful” and “quiet village.” He got involved in village government shortly after, with the hope of maintain what he described as the community’s attractiveness and appeal.
Ask Kaufman what kept him busy throughout the last three decades, and he might be short on specific details. Before becoming a trustee in 2000, he chaired the village’s design review board. After that, he sat on the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Salomon presented Kaufman with a plaque during his final meeting, which expressed “appreciation for the outstanding years of service rendered to the village of Hewlett Bay Park.”
“It’s been my honor to be here and serve the village in many different capacities,” Kaufman said. “I never thought that I’d be the mayor, and I never thought that if I was the mayor, I would be the mayor for this long. I tried to do the best job that I could. I’ve always put the village first.”
One of Kaufman’s more proud accomplishments during his long tenure is raising village taxes only once. Quality of residential lives and fiscal responsibility were at the top of his priority list, Salomon said.
Kaufman had good memories, and others that really showed his resolve. Like during Hurricane Sandy, the 2012 storm where Salomon praised Kaufman for helping the community get though to the other side.
And now it’s Salomon’s turn — something Kaufman was quite optimistic about in his resignation letter, noting that “I leave the village in very capable hands.”
“Steven cared about the village deeply, and his tenure in office was defined by integrity and compassion. He will be sorely missed,” Trustee Gail Rubel said. “I have been a trustee with Alex Solomon for many years, and I expect Alex will continue in Steve’s legacy, and serve the village honorably.”
Salomon told the board in an email that, as mayor, he intends to “continue the legacy of tranquility and park-like living for our residents. I am encouraged by the continued inflow of younger families into our community, and look forward to humbly leading our village as the premier residential community of the Five Towns.”
Before leaving for his new home and his new life, Kaufman took one last look around Village Hall.
“I’m glad that I could do this,” he said. "I’ve enjoyed most of it — even the tough parts. And I thank everybody for working with me. Living here has been great.”