Four of New York City’s five borough presidents have formed a committee designed to oppose the second and third proposals slated for the Nov. 6 ballot that will affect community boards in the city.
The Bronx’s Ruben Diaz Jr., Manhattan’s Gale Brewer, Queens’ Melinda Katz and Staten Island’s James Oddo are behind the group that want to prevent term limits from being instituted for community board members, and to stop a Civic Engagement Commission from forming. The two proposals were offered by the Charter Revision Commission, a group assembled by Mayor Bill de Blasio that are looking to amend the city charter.
“These two proposed reforms have the potential to gut the independence of our community boards, rob them of their institutional knowledge, and give developers the upper hand in the land use process,” Diaz said, in a release. “Our community boards are the eyes and ears of our neighborhoods, and are often the first line of defense against unwanted projects as well as the initial point of contact between city agencies and our neighbors.
“We should be working to strengthen their role, not strip them of their knowledge and historical focus that makes them so important in the first place.”
Under the ballot proposals, community board members would be limited to four two-year terms, and then would be required to step down for at least two years before they can apply to return to the board. The mayor’s Charter Review Commission called the move a chance to bring more diversity to the board, while opening the door for more people to serve.
Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams is for the term limits, telling the commission that while institutional knowledge created by longtime members is important, according to published reports, reasonable term limits would help create a more appropriate balance of participation.
The committee has opened a social media page for their efforts, located at Facebook.com/VoteNoOn2and3.
Voters will decide Nov. 6.