Mayor Bloomberg managed to squeeze a third term, but Community Board 11’s chairman made sure he won’t.
The board has done a major overhaul of its by-laws, including implementing new term limits as well as staggering its election process.
The changes come after long-time chairman Dom Castore passed away last November, leaving the board under the leadership of Anthony Vitaliano.
The new chairman said the by-laws were in desperate need of updating, since they had not been revised since 2006.
“I’ve been trying to change the by-laws for a long time,” Vitaliano said. “I wasn’t in a position to change them until I became chairman. The old by-laws needed a lot of changes and clarification.”
Besides the new term limits and changes to the election process, the board has also added a sergeant-at-arms as a voting officer of the board.
The new laws went into effect on Wednesday, May 1, and include about 24 changes, with 14 of them significant policy changes.
New Term Limits
Board officers are now limited to two consecutive two-year terms, after which an officer must wait one full two-year term before becoming eligible for the same position, though they may be a candidate for another board position.
“There was a feeling among the members that having term limits would give more members the opportunity to contribute to running the community board” said by-law committee member David Leavitt.
“Dom Castore served for many years as board chairman,” said Leavitt, “and while we all appreciate his many contributions to the community, members felt that others should be able to serve and that one person shouldn’t feel that they were being elected to a ‘permanent’ position.’”
During a period in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, the position of chairperson was term limited, but term limits for the chairperson were eliminated from the by-laws when they were revised in 2006, Leavitt said.
Annual Board Elections and Process
Board elections will now occur every year in June and be divided into two classes: Class A includes the chairperson, 1st vice chairperson and the secretary. Class B includes the vice chairperson, treasurer and sergeant-at-arms.
Starting in June 2014, Class A candidates will be elected for a two-year term and Class B for a one-year term. Class B will then be up for re-election for a two-year term in June 2015, to allow for staggered terms.
The election process has been shortened from three months to two months, with nominations in May, followed by a June election, every other year.
Leavitt said staggering the terms “would ensure that some officers would remain and that there wouldn’t be a complete turnover of officers at any one time.”
“The feeling was that people who had experience could help those who were just elected as officers and who might benefit from some guidance,” he said.
The full board voted to accept the terms with a stipulation that the language used to refer to officers be changed to other terms instead of “Class A” and “Class B.”
The board will vote on the new language at their June meeting.
Under the new by-laws, the sergeant-at-arms will be responsible for keeping order at the monthly board meetings and advising the chairmen.
Leavitt said that over the past few years, the board has had monthly meetings “where there was confusion about the order of business, making motions and amendments to motions and discussion on various issues before the board.
“It was thought that we should add an officer that would assist in dealing with these issues.”
Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3394