Vol. 15, No. 7      March 28 - April 10, 2002


Record Number of Community Board Applicants

By Jordan Moss

A record number of Bronx residents are applying to sit on their local community boards, including Community Board 7 in this area. According to a representative of the Bronx borough president, who attended the Board's public meeting last week, over 40 community residents have applied for appointment to Board 7.

Since he took office in January, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion has been encouraging Bronxites to join the borough's 12 boards by leaving stacks of blank applications in libraries and community centers, publicizing the opportunity in newspapers, and extending the deadline. Deputy Borough President Earl Brown also attributed the surge in interest to there being new blood at Borough Hall for the first time in 14 years. "There's a certain amount of excitement and interest in getting to know this new administration," he said.

Community boards serve as liaison for residents with city government. Their responsibilities include reviewing municipal services, the city budget, and land use and zoning issues. Boards also serve as a clearinghouse for complaints about the delivery of city services.

In April, Carrion will begin consulting with members of the City Council to finalize the appointments. The Council members get to appoint half of the members of a board. Each of the Council members there are three in Community Board 7 appoint members proportionately to the amount of the board area that falls within their legislative district. Carrion appoints the other half of the members on a board.

The new surge in interest in community boards is particularly relevant in Community Board 7. Under the City Charter, each board can have 50 members. But Board 7 has only 23 members. (By contrast, Community Board 8 in Riverdale and Kingsbridge has 46 members.) The Board has not been able to vote on resolutions for the last two monthly public meetings due to absenteeism. Last week, Board 7 again postponed votes on resolutions pertaining to the City Charter and to the Indian Point nuclear facility.

According to Brown, Carrion will pay special attention to absenteeism in order to determine whether or not board members should be reappointed.

"Attendance at board meetings will play a major role in his decision making," Brown said, "because the goal of having members on the board is to have them come to meetings and to conduct the business of the community board and the community. If people are not participating the borough president will certainly take that into consideration."

Brown said Carrion has no "magic number" in mind that will determine how many people get appointed, but he added, "His goal is to maximize the participation of community members."

Carrion plans to finalize all board appointments by the end of April, so that new members' terms can start on May 1.

Ed. note: Community Board 7 is located at 229A E. 204th St. in Bedford Park. The phone number is 933-5650.

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