Community board absenteeism is really getting out of control


With 8.6 million people living in New York City, and 1.5 million in the Bronx alone, it’s easy sometimes to get lost in the shuffle. 

But community boards work to prevent that, giving an opportunity for up to 50 people — our friends, neighbors and family members — to represent our interests on the most hyperlocal of levels.

For the greater Riverdale area, we’ve got Community Board 8, where each board member essentially represents more than 2,000 people. Even though it’s not paid, it’s still an important job — and one our community board members must show up for. 

The vote last month selecting Michael Heller as CB8’s new district manager attracted a little more than half the board. While Heller’s selection to the position is a no-brainer, given his wealth of experience and knowledge, there’s still no excuse for half the board to vanish. 

The district manager position is a $75,000 decision — $75,000 paid for by our taxes. If there’s any time the entire board’s presence would be necessary, it would be for this one vote that really doesn’t come around very often.

That meeting was not an isolated incident. In fact, since the new year, average attendance at monthly meetings was 62 percent. Imagine if trash collectors only visited your home 62 percent of the time, or if firefighters only responded to 62 percent of blazes. That’s not a good track record at all.

Community board rules are quite lax when it comes to attendance — you can’t miss three meetings in a row, or six out of the 10 in a year — and maybe it’s time to make it more strict.

We appreciate the work our community board members do, especially with no salary. But we also need them to do the job they were appointed for, and that includes going to not just some of the meetings, but all.