Meet the Mayor
Alumnus takes community dedication to new heights

Bob Weitzner 82BBA, a financial planner, husband, and father of two, recently added a new title to his resume: mayor.

A seventeen-year resident of Port Washington North, Long Island, Weitzner has been active in the community and local government for more than a decade. Last year, he was elected mayor of the quaint waterfront village. His unopposed election followed a thirty-five-year tenure by the previous mayor, who was retiring and supported Weitzner’s campaign. It’s a role Weitzner has grabbed hold of with gusto.

“It’s just tremendous enjoyment and self-fulfillment,” he says. “I tell people that being an elected official in this village is like being part of the best club you could ever hope to join.”

Before being elected mayor, Weitzner served for three years as a trustee of Port Washington North, one of five villages nestled on a North Shore peninsula. As a trustee, he helped secure six grants for the community that supported projects such as traffic calming and a public park.

“Being mayor is a whole other world from being a trustee,” he says. “From a management standpoint, it’s like a friend told me: you are the CEO of your village. You call the shots. As a trustee, I grabbed projects and recognized that the best way to get things done was to keep the focus narrow and deep. As mayor, my attitude is more one of delegation. I have a lot of initiatives in mind.”

One of Weitzner’s loftier aims is to create a court system for the village. Currently, Port Washington North is using the county system and thereby missing out on revenue such as traffic fines.

He also is committed to maintaining the village’s environment, character, and charm. Weitzner recently spearheaded an effort to replace every street sign and traffic sign with distinctive signage.

“I want people to come and see a clean, vibrant community,” he says. “After being here for seventeen years, it’s especially important to me to establish a nautical identity for the village. We’re a waterfront community, and our water is a magnificent sight.”

Weitzner’s legacy will likely be what he describes as “probably the most exciting waterfront recreational park system on the peninsula.” Under the previous mayor, he began the process of buying stretches of barren waterfront land, where he envisions walking paths, gazebos, a playground, and maybe even an ice-skating rink. He hopes to see ground broken next year.

Weitzner is one of 3,100 residents of Port Washington North, where he lives with his wife, Jane, and their two children, Scott, nine, and Rachel, seven. He says serving as mayor—which is not a full-time job—is a labor of love, for which he is paid “a pittance.” But it’s obvious he’s not in it for the money.

“Seeing change that you have had something to do with, seeing it make the community better for the people who live here—this is as close to instant gratification as you can get,” Weitzner says.—P.P.P.




© 2006 Emory University