Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Who is Watching Community Boards?

  There are 52 community boards in New York City which are ninety-nine percent advisory. Each community board has a budget of over $300,000.00 to spend by unpaid volunteer politically appointed members. Just who checks every appointment to a community board to see that the boards are not wasting taxpayer dollars? These community boards hire district managers who are judged some of the time on political motives and not job qualifications. It is the chair of a community board who can sway members to vote a certain way, however that does not always happen as we saw at last nights Community Board 7 meeting.

Pictured above is CB 7 member Ms. Robyn Saunders as she give her speech as to why board members should elect her. There were four candidates running for the position, and it was announced that two members withdrew from the election leaving two members running for the position. Ms. Saunders became the new second Vice-Chair of CB 7 much to the chagrin of certain Cb 7 members including the Chair as I was told by more than one person. 

On the agenda was a motion to spend $25,000.00 to hire a consultant to do a study of the CB 7 area for a rezoning and land use study. The motion passed unanimously. One has to question why this money is being spent when the City Planning Commission recently did a full Zoning for Quality and Affordability of New York City. 

The best part of the meeting however was the motion to continue the probation of the current district manager until the February full board meeting, which would be a probation period of one full year. This by the way is the third or fourth time that CB 7 has voted to extend the probation period of the current district manager. This is also the fourth district manager in as almost as many years. Two of the previous district managers flat out quit, while the other two were let go of by the board. Of the 36 member of Community Board 7 the motion to continue the probation of the current district manager was passed after a brief Executive Session (which was closed to the public) 19 voted in favor of the resolution with no negative votes and no abstentions. It seems to be that the other 17 members of Cb 7 had other things that were more important to them than voting to continue the probation period of their current district manager. Either that or those members chose to boycott what appears to be a vendetta by the board chair to fire the current district manager. As the Executive Session ended and the board members returned to the room CB 7 Chair Adeline Walker Santiago said some words to me since I had spoke in the public gallery session that extending the probation period for one years was out of line, and I also told of the current district managers excellent work ethics before being selected to be the new district manager at CB 7. 

CB 7 Budget/Personnel/Ethics Chair Andrew Laiosa calls for a vote on the motion to extend the probation period of the district manager until February 2017. 

With all the problems at CB 7 maybe it is time for CB 7 to elect a new board chair as it did a second vice-chair. 

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