Editorial

Community board absenteeism is really getting out of control

Posted

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.

Comments

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JonDaBronx

Donald Trump is taking his $300,000-400,000 salary, as well as benefiting personally and financially in general (and violating laws like the emolument clause). It's interesting you ignore the personal foibles of Bloomberg or Trump.

Would like to see attendance go up, but am also cognizant that are some outstanding members of the CB who produce high-quality work on a regular basis. They do it out of a dedication to community service, to advance the community forward. They have the ability to work with agencies while representing sometimes angry residents -- a difficult task and balancing act.

In the end, they bring government closer to the ordinary citizen, making it function better than otherwise would be, and that is something to be thankful for.

Tuesday, May 23 | Report this
CelticWoman

JonDaBronx - where did you read that Trump was taking his salary? He donated his 1st quarter salary to the National Parks Service.

And this about LOCAL government, not Federal govt. Stay on topic.

Tuesday, June 13 | Report this