Community Board 8 vote bears bitter fruit


UPDATED June 16, 2 p.m. 

Despite a maelstrom of drama leading up to Tuesday's election, Community Board 8's vote on new officers and chairs was less than enthralling. Bob Fanuzzi was elected as chair and Maria Khury was not challenged from the floor. Ms. Khury, a five-year board member and past chair of the economic development committee, was elected as vice chair.

After three years of serving as chair of the board, Damian McShane stepped down.

Most of the chair positions were unchanged, but four committees have new leaders. Brendan Contant will be the new budget chair; Sergio Villaverde will lead economic development; Sylvia Alexander will lead education; and Rosemary Ginty will take over environment and sanitation.

During the week leading up to the election, however, the vice chair position was surrounded by controversy.

A faction of the community board supported Ms. Khury for vice chair while another got behind Steve Froot. 

Each camp accused the other of impropriety. Ms. Khury’s camp accused Councilman Oliver Koppell of threatening board members who voted against Mr. Froot. Mr. Froot’s camp accused Ms. Khury of an ethical lapse when she voted to nominate herself. 

After four meetings, the Board’s five-person nominating committee responsible for creating a slate of candidates for chair positions, voted Ms. Khury onto the ballot for the vice chair slot. 

Ms. Khury, however, sits on the nominating committee and cast the tie-breaking vote in her own favor. Before members decided to go ahead, the committee discussed by-laws regarding a member voting for oneself, according to the nominating committee’s report obtained prior to the vote by The Press. They voted 3-2 to allow Ms. Khury to vote. 

The same 3-2 majority then voted to place Ms. Khury’s name on the slate. 

“If someone decides to run for office, especially a major office, they should recuse themselves,” Mr. Koppell said.

Mr. Fanuzzi said nominating committee members often seek chair positions. 

“It always happens. It’s very rare that it hasn’t happened,” he said.

Ms. Khury said she did nothing improper. 

Community Board 8, elections, Maria Khury, Councilman Oliver Koppell, vice chair, Mr. Froot, Bob Fanuzzi, nominating committee,
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