Vol. 18, No. 17 Sept. 8 - 21, 2005


CB7 Sets Priorities


Community Board 7 (CB7) members gathered at summer’s end to set goals for the coming year. Led by Greg Faulkner, CB7’s new chair, the session preceded the full board meeting, scheduled for Sept. 20.

“There was a whole flood of ideas,” said Faulkner, who replaced veteran chair Nora Feury during elections last June. “People were excited.”

The attendees, including the executive members and committee chairs, agreed on some ambitious goals. Top among them is to increase the visibility and inclusiveness of the board meetings and services. Members hope to reach out to local groups, including ones who haven’t traditionally been involved in the Board, like the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition. The effectiveness of the Board’s constituent services will be evaluated, along with the accessibility of the Bedford Park office.

“I think it’s long overdue,” said Judith Freeman, a Board member, about plans to create a constituent intake form. They also hope to create a periodic newsletter and an expanded Web site.

Rita Kessler, CB7’s district manager, thought the meeting went well enough. “We’ll see what we get done,” she said.

Faulkner was more enthusiastic. “We want to raise the bar,” he said, “to stop and look where we have made errors in the past, and reengage with people.”

The Board is reexamining the structure of committees, which have dropped in attendance.  Last spring, the Board consolidated its committees from 11 to seven, but members agreed to reverse that change. “It gave a few people additional work, but I don’t think it created a better committee structure,” Faulkner said. It also apparently violated the Board’s bylaws, which require at least nine committees.

To instill a new sense of leadership, Faulkner nominated more recent Board members to lead some of the committees. The youth, health, housing, and aging committees will all have new chairs or co-chairs this year.

Freeman, a 28-year local resident and tenant leader, is excited to lead the Housing Committee. “I think housing is certainly one of the key issues in our area,” said Freeman, a Board member for three years who lives in a building owned by a landlord widely considered to be one of the city’s worst. “My passion is to make landlords accountable.”

Faulkner replaced Feury after she stepped down while facing fraud charges. He is the first new chair in 17 years.

As for Feury, it’s uncertain where things stand with an investigation into whether she siphoned funds from the Head Start program she managed for decades. Ruth Ramos, who worked for Feury and is also being investigated, was recently hired by another Head Start program, according to Kessler. Feury, Kessler said, is expected to attend the Board meeting later this month.

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